The bee population is shrinking and GM crops are causing stronger pests to evolve. These bugbots might just be the solution to our agriculture problems. Farmers could release squads of praying mantises to pollenate and patrol crops for pests.
For many years, researchers have been working on designing and fabricating micro-air-vehicles (MAVs), flying robots the size of small insects. But after realizing how difficult it is to create a tiny, lightweight flying vehicle capable of carrying a payload and being powered by a long-life onboard power source, some researchers have recently stopped trying to copy real-life insects and started using the insects themselves, with a few small tweaks.
So far, the neural control systems in cyborg insects have generally been powered by batteries. But now Aktakka and coauthors Hanseup Kim and Khalil Najafi from the University of Michigan (Kim is currently with the University of Utah), have developed an energy scavenger that generates power from the wing motion of a Green June Beetle during tethered flight. Two generators – one on each of the beetle’s wings – use piezoelectric devices to produce a total of 45 µW of power per insect. The researchers predict that this power could be increased by an order of magnitude through a direct connection between the generator and the insect’s flight muscles.
This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at PhysOrg.