At one time, the dragonfly inspired scientists to create tiny UAVs. However, the question immediately arose: why create a similar “bicycle”, when nature itself made the main, most difficult part of the work? Is not it easier to create a control system for a ready-made, live dragonfly?
Researchers at the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory and Howard Hughes Medical Institute have developed a control system that is attached to the back of a dragonfly, like a tiny backpack. The project is called DragonflEye. This is not the first such experiment with remotely controlled insects. Suffice it to recall experiments with beetles and locusts .
DragoflEye differs from them more complexity and capabilities, in particular, the presence of optical sensors – optrodes, working as tiny, flexible fiber optic cables. They allow using the light impulses to affect the neurons of the dragonfly, responsible for controlling its flight.
It should be noted that scientists used genetically modified dragonflies for experiments, which differ from the usual ones by a better response to light pulses. According to the participants of the project, the opto-opto accurately “fall” into the desired neurons, without affecting the neighboring ones.
Dragonfly-cyborgs can be used in the military field – for reconnaissance and delivery of payloads. Perhaps their peaceful use. In particular, due to the reduction in the population of bees, scientists could equip some of them with systems that allow monitoring health, migration and regulating the process of pollination.
Separately, with the help of opto-devices implanted in the brain, physicians will be able to treat serious illnesses.