HI-MEMS: Control Circuits Embedded In Pupal Stage Successfully

Cornell University researchers have succeeded in implanting electronic circuit probes into tobacco hornworms as early pupae. The hornworms pass through the chrysalis stage to mature into moths whose muscles can be controlled with the implanted electronics.


(Tobacco hornworm with circuit and electrode implanted in pupal stage.)

The pupal insertion state is shown in insert "i" in the picture seen above. The successful emergence of a microsystem-controlled insect is shown in insert "ii;" the microsystem platform is shown held with tweezers. The X-ray image (A) shows the probes inserted into the dorsoventral and dorsolongitudinal flight muscles. CT images (B) show components of high absorbance indicating tissue growth around the probe.


(Results of insertions done at different stages of metamorphosis.)

The research also indicated the most favorable and least favorable times for insertion of control devices. The overall size of the circuit board is 8x7mm, with a total weight of about 500 mg. The capacity of the battery is 16 mAh, and weighs 240 mg.

A driving voltage of 5 volts causes the tobacco hornworm blade muscles (two pairs) to move for flight and maneuvering.

DARPA HI-MEMS program director Amit Lal credits science fiction writer Thomas Easton with the idea. Lal read Easton's 1990 novel Sparrowhawk, in which animals enlarged by genetic engineering were outfitted with implanted control systems.

Dr. Easton, a professor of science at Thomas College, sees a number of applications for HI-MEMS insects.

Moths are extraordinarily sensitive to sex attractants, so instead of giving bank robbers money treated with dye, they could use sex attractants instead. Then, a moth-based HI-MEMS could find the robber by following the scent."

"[Also,] with genetic engineering Darpa could replace the sex attractant receptor on the moth antennae with receptors for other things, like explosives, drugs or toxins," said Easton.

DARPA had better be careful with its insect army; in Easton's novel, hackers are able to gain control of genetically engineered animals by hacking the controller chips used in their implanted control structures.

Read more about Roachsters, full-size anthropod-based vehicles with embedded control structures from Easton's 1990 book Sparrowhawk.

If you are interested in one dark-side view of how this kind of invention could be used by corporations, see the madcap blurbflies from Jeff Noon's excellent 2000 novel Nymphomation.

Learn more about HI-MEMS (Hybrid Insect Micro-Electrico-Mechanical Systems) Sought By DARPA; additional research reviewed at HI-MEMS: Cyborg Beetle Microsystem. Via Robot Watch. See also this informative article Darpa hatches plan for insect cyborgs to fly reconnaissance.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/27/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

3D Printed Artificial Muscles Are Stronger Than Yours
Bots don't need to work out.

Crazyflie Drone Swarm Technology
'...Programmed to hang in space in a hexagonal grid pattern.' - Neal Stephenson, 1995.

L16 Revolutionary Optics Spells End For Ordinary DSLRs?
Time for Esper Photo Analysis, Blade Runner fans.

MIT Tunes Ions For Frictionless Surface - Superlubricity!
'My telelubricator here neutralizes the interatomic bonds the surface of any solid...' - L. Sprague de Camp, 1940.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

effie Automated Ironing Appliance
'Household Automata received an urgent task to develop production units of бытовые тканевые разглаживатели - a household fabric smoother.'

BabyX AI Real Enough For You
'...what's to keep me from showing face, Man? I'm showing a voice this instant... I can show a face the same way.'

We Could Downgrade Puerto Rico - And Thereby Save It
'It was cheaper to pay the refugees to go without up-to-the-minute equipment.'

Pegasus, Nvidia Supercomputer For Autonomous Driving
'...a 2045 convertible with a Hennis-Carleton positronic motor and an Armat chassis.'

Loihi Chip Mimics Human Brain's Neurons And Synapses
'You can hook a Thorsen tube into a control circuit... and the tube will "remember" what was done and can direct the operation...'

Self-Assembling Bacteria Build A Pressure Sensor
Nature is a master of fabricating structured materials consisting of living and non-living components.

3D Printed Artificial Muscles Are Stronger Than Yours
Bots don't need to work out.

Fog Computing (AKA Edge Computing) Ad Hoc Networks
'The tiny devices chirped their impulse codes at one another...'

Dubai Scorpion Police Hoverbike Ready To Pull Young Kirk Over
'Is there a problem, officer?'

Korean Tesla Model S Video 'Excelsior' Is Indeed Our Motto
'Improving man by bringing him close to Nature, while they combine the sensations of coasting with the interest of seeing the country well...'

HEXA Robotic Help For Plants
Then some unknown race had chanced upon the dreamers and decided to "help them out."

DIY Robot Shoots You In The Face
'...there were automatic guns that fired ligamine darts.'

A Bayesian Approach to Safe Imitation Learning For AIs and Robots
Um, how about that pension for the humans who serve as the models for robot behavior?

Qoobo Headless Robotic Therapy Cat Was Anne McCaffrey's Idea
'...used as surrogates in intense dependency cases.'

Autonomous Cars Talk To Each Other At MCity
'My cars talk to one another.'

PUFFER Robots - From Philip K DIck's Second Variety?
'Across the ground something small and metallic came, flashing in the dull sunlight of midday.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.