Back Pack Creates Beetle Drone

And you thought that camera drones were impressive?

Researchers have created a miniature back pack that fits on to a beetle and controls its flight. Using a remote control researchers can electrically stimulate tiny muscles below its wings, creating a living mini-copter that they can steer with amazing precision.

Beetle with Back Pack

Beetle with Back Pack

To show how the muscle steers, the researchers fitted a giant flower beetle, just over two inches long, with a microcontroller and a wireless receiver and transmitter weighing as much as a paperclip. Electrodes fire pulses into the beetle’s muscles—zap the steering muscles with more frequent electrical pulses, and they contract more, turning the wing harder. About 25 seconds into the video, you can see how an increase in pulse frequency, from 70 to 90 times a second, forces the beetle into a tighter turn.

They will soon be able to control not only left and right turns but also up and down, so what next for our little flying friend?

Thanks to for this amazing story.


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