While some defense researchers work on creating tiny, insect-sized spy drones, others are working on turning insects into fluttering cyborgs. Georgia Tech professor Robert Michelson has modified a Manduca moth to carry and power on-board electronics, reports Flight Global:
In the latest work a Manduca moth had its thorax truncated to reduce its mass and had a MEMS component added where abdominal segments would have been, during the larval stage.
Images taken by x-ray of insects with these changes and others found that tissue growth around the inserted probes was good. One DARPA goal is to show that during locomotion the heat and mechanical power generated by the thorax could be harnessed to power the MEMS.
The goal is to create insects that can be remotely controlled to serve as remote sensing devices, giving the paranoid schizophrenic in us all one more excuse to start gibbering about “Project: Beelzebub.”