National Moth Week Moth Information Moths that Drive Cars

Moths that Drive Cars


A silkmoth using a polystyrene ball to guide a vehicle.
(Photo from

Moths can seriously do everything these days – not only can they hear extremely high frequency sounds, now they can drive!

Researchers at the University of Tokyo did an experiment to test the sensory and motor systems of silkmoths. They had the moths control small motorized vehicles to move in the direction of pheromones (chemicals that female moths use to attract males). The moths scrambled across the surface of a free-moving polystyrene ball, moving the ball, which, in turn, moved the vehicle.

When moths sense pheromones, they take action faster and more accurately than any machine. Researchers want to be able to make robots that can do this too, which might be useful when a robot has to instantly locate the source of a chemical leak or a hidden biological weapon.

You can read the full article here. 

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