For years now, DARPA and other free-thinking research institutions have been developing micro-air-vehicles (MAV), usually modeled after insects. But building a tiny, lightweight flying robot is tough when you need a power supply--like an onboard battery--to keep the MAV flying. Then researchers turned to insect mind control--implanting live insects with machinery that lets humans manipulate their movements--but the problem remained: neural control hardware requires a battery to run.
Now, a team of Michigan researchers may have finally solved the battery problem by demonstrating an energy scavenger that derives power straight from the insects own wing motion.
Using a tethered Green June Beetle and a couple of piezoelectric generators mounted on its wings, the researchers were able to generate 45 µW (that's microwatt, or one one-thousandth of a milliwatt) of power.
What's more, they think they could improve that by an order of magnitude if they made the beetle a true cyborg and directly implanted the generators to the insect's flight muscles. That's enough power to run the onboard neuro-hardware needed to manipulate the beetles--which means basically the ability to tell a Green June beetle to fly depends on the power generated from flight.
That's pretty cool, considering DARPA and the rest of the cyborg insect research establishment has a variety of roles in mind for the sensor laden drone insects of the future, including search and rescue, intelligence and surveillance, environmental monitoring and the like.
While I do understand the benefits of this type of research, it also strikes me as animal cruelty... Just putting that out there...
This looks awesome.
@dwarner - It's a bug...
Micro robotic insects rock! I just wish they were smaller!
i bet you could recharge your electric car from the vibrations emitted from her highness's keyboard (our resident troll)
We humans have an easy tolerance to torture bugs and experiment with them.
Seriously on a scale of 1 to 100, "1 being no guilt" and "100 extreme guilty". What number do you feel people feel towards these bugs?
It just gives me the creeps, if a space alien race shows up and is 1000 times smarter than us, stronger than us and bigger than us.
They will not care at all to put these devices to us humans and experiment away and so easily make slaves of us all......
Usually piezos are pretty rigid, so I would think this would interfere with flying ability and range. Tens of microwatts isn't too bad, if these devices can really be scaled down to fit on a beetle. The picture made it look like the cantilever was way too big for that. The g-shock watches have a tiny dot that delivers power in the microwatt range. The surface area of the beetle's back and wings seems ample for a collection surface. Granted the beetle may not always be in sunlight, but the beetle may not always be flying either.
I'm about a 20 for bugs. 95 for animals. Humans? I don't know. Some people have it coming. We also make conscious decisions. Like if a kid burns ants with a magnifying glass, then puts their hand under it out of curiosity. Serves em right. I don't think bugs feel pain or fear in any way we can imagine it. But still. Who knows for sure? I say better to respect all lifeforms.
I love bugs, does anyone remember the Volkswagen? Cool car!
@BubbaGump you do realize your nothing but a f$$$ing troll.
I know you think you are cute, or being cute, and people want to read every single little thought that comes out of your brain, but we dont and guess what. your not nearly as clever as you think you are.
I wish the mods would do something about you.
I didn't know this website is called
out of 1000 users (estimated) you have 10% of ALL comments . you don't think thats a little over kill. branch out a little would you? there is more than one website out there.
most people post a comment a move on. you have to reply to EVERY single comment that you and someone else put then comment 3 more times on it. go back an look. some article you have 30% of EVERY comment posted. honestly you don't think thats a bit much?
Hey popsci admin: I am not going to come here anymore (and I am sure I am not the only one) because you have some extremely annoying users that think they can dominate the message boards with every little thought they think is funny or clever. guess what. thats called TROLLING.
Haters Gonna Hate. But seriously Popsci admins aren't going to kick someone that is very active on their site, that's actually the type of people they want, and just because your're raging over Bubbas comments won't give you a valid reason to kick the guy. I have to give you credit, you said something pretty smart back there, "I am not going to come here anymore".
@inaka_rob, you declare you responsible as being your own hate mongrel and advent spammer. Good Luck to you. PoPSci is the owner of their website and I will abide to their advice.
the title gave me an idea, when fly sized uavs are possible (they probably are in some black project) you could probably land and attach to something, and use light wind to flutter the wings and recharge. this way you could have continuous surveillance. hmmm
@funkyskunk2, dear sir, you have the poetic rymhe of shakespear, how fun....
You will all have to start a new group P.E.T.I. or People for the Ethical Treatment of Insects and protest with cries of "Exoskeletons are execution!" and throw green paint on the building. Oh, and you now can't eat honey, because thats slavery.
Ridiculous, all of you claimin' cruelty.
Americans eat 24 million chickens A DAY. and you're worried about a couple beetles attached to a joystick.
BubbaGump is female? Didn't know that. In my own defense, it's difficult to tell from her picture.
This is really starting to get on my nerves. I was wanting to see what people had to say about cyborg flies, and now it's a BubbaGump/b hate discussion. If everyone hates him/her so much, then don't post comments to him/her. I personally see nothing wrong with BubbaGump/b's posts, and wonder why it's such a big deal to people that he/she posts on all of the articles. Sometimes what he/she says doesn't make sense, sometimes what he/she says helps me understand things better.
P.S. A gender really would prevent further wear on my keys.
@Hawk-Fan336. Pick a gender of your own choosing..... I just post opinions and ideas and yes tangent thoughts.... gender has no merit on discussion...
But thank you for not being negative to me sir..
It was nice for a change.
Woman are brilliant! Treat them with respect!
Men are brilliant! Treat them with respect!
Old, young, and so on, just be nice.
Sir, pick what ever gender that is easy to type, thanx.
Bubbagump says "@funkyskunk2, dear sir, you have the poetic rymhe of shakespear, how fun...."
and Bubbagump: You have the spell-check of Windows 1.0
Animal cruelty is a big thing but probably the biggest factor would be the level of sentience. If an animal is close to human sentience then all forms of testing for our own gain or experiments like these beetle should not be conducted. Doing this even to say a dolphin would be terrible. But from what we know, insects are on a much more basic and instictual level of thinking it lessens it in some ways. Still...messing up an insect that way is kinda messed up. Wonder if it even feels pain or fear. Or is it just "Herp Derp!!!"