Cyborg Moths?!

Manduca sexta (photo by by Shawn Hanrahan via Wikimedia Commons)

Here’s an article published in New Scientist earlier this year demonstrating a non-ecological moth function.

US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in conjunction with some entomologists are working to develop an insect-machine interface by inserting electrode probes into insect brains and flight muscles. The insect they’re using? Manduca sexta – the tobacco hornworm, a moth of the Sphingidae family!

Using these implanted electrodes, researchers were able to direct the moth to turn left and right during flight.

Though the primary aim of this research is to develop insect-as-spy technology, the researchers are working with neurobiologists to see if the probe could be used in humans. Electrodes that stimulate nerve bundles in the human nervous system could help rehabilitate people who have lost mobility after a stroke.

Be sure to check out the full article and the video of a moth responding to electrode stimulation.

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