A Cyborg Beetle

Biological Machines
Emily Singer, Technology Review, March/April 2009, p38

John Burgoyne
John Burgoyne

A giant flower beetle flies about, veering up and down, left and right. But the insect isn’t a pest, and it isn’t steering its own path. An implanted receiver, microcontroller, microbattery, and six carefully placed electrodes–a payload smaller than a dime and weighing less than a stick of gum–allow an engineer to control the bug wirelessly.

His team previously modified ¬≠beetles during the pupal stage, so that their implants are invisible in adulthood–a valuable property if they are to be used in covert missions.


As a young boy I delighted in scaring my sister with a inanimate rubber mouse. In the future young boys will have remote control flying bugs with which to torment their little sisters. How fun!

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