A few years ago, researchers successfully managed to outfit a cockroach with a microcontroller in which it could be controlled to a certain extent to move along a desired path. However it seems that over in Singapore, engineers at the Nanyang Technological University have taken it to the next level with cyborg beetles.
Basically the concept is roughly the same in which a device is attached to the beetles so as to be able to control them remotely. The device in question is wired to the insect and can then be used to control their walking gaits, speeds, flying direction, and other forms of movement. Essentially these are living insects that have no control over their bodies.
However it seems that the energy needed for the beetles to move still comes from their food, meaning that if the insects are starved, they can’t be forced to move with the device. The idea behind these cyborg beetles is that heat sensors can be placed on them and send them into locations where a terrorist or a criminal could be hiding. This is versus robots or drones which might be more noticeable.
As for the ethical implications, the researchers claim that this setup is not harmful to the insect and that none of the beetles died after stimulation of their muscles. Also the lifespan of these beetles are said to be 3-6 months, and that they can still live that long in spite of interference by the researchers.
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