Cyborg LOCUSTS can be used to sniff bombs after scientists ‘hijacked’ the sense of smell of insects by implanting electrodes in their brains
- In 2016, experts unveiled a project to bomb cyborg grasshopper
- Now the technology is implanted in the insects that can sniff bombs
- Scientists implanted electrodes in the insect’s brain to analyze neural activity
- Different patterns appear when it encounters certain chemicals used in bombs
Scientists have successfully “hijacked” the sense of smell of a grasshopper to detect bombs and prevent terrorist attacks.
Funded by the US Navy, the project implanted electrodes in the insect’s brain, allowing researchers to analyze neural activity when it comes across certain chemicals, such as ammonium nitrate – a substance often used in bomb making.
The team exposed the grasshopper to five different explosives and within 500 milliseconds a clear pattern of activity appeared in the insect’s brain.
The procedure involved making a ‘small’ incision in the heads of the locusts, allowing the insects to continue to move their mouth parts and antennas freely.
And scientists added about 50,000 olfactory neurons to their small antennas, allowing them to detect substances in a wide range, OneZero reported.
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Funded by the US Navy, the project implanted electrodes into the brain of the insect, allowing researchers to analyze neural activity when it encounters certain chemicals, such as ammonium nitrate – a substance often used in bomb making
Engineers at Washington University in St. Louis have received a $ 750,000 grant to use the highly sensitive grasshopper system as the basis for a bio-hybrid nose.
Baranidharan Raman, associate professor of biomedical technology at the university, said in an interview in 2016: “It seems that biology has come together in a solution to the problem of non-invasive or” stand-off “chemical detection and the same design and the same computer has replicated principles everywhere. “
“Therefore understanding of the fundamental olfactory processing principle is necessary to develop solutions that are inspired by biology.”
The team chose to use an American grasshopper because they are “sturdy” and can “carry heavy loads.”
The team exposed the grasshopper to five different explosives and within 500 milliseconds a clear pattern of activity appeared in the insect’s brain. The procedure involved making a ‘small’ incision in the heads of the locusts so that the insects could continue to move their mouth parts and antennas freely (stock)
They also discovered that in order to transform the insects into cyborgs, they only had to make a ‘small’ incision in its head.
This not only avoided the need for extensive surgery, but also allowed the insects to continue using their mouth parts and antennas.
Researchers also designed the grasshopper with small wheels, so that a human operator could control their movements.
According to OneZero, the scientists are currently working on silk-based ‘nanotattoo’ implants with which the operator can control the insects.
It would linger on the wings of the grasshopper and generate heat, allowing experts to control it with a remote control.
The tattoos will be littered with ‘plasmonic nanostructures’ with which the scientists can collect samples of volatile organic compounds in the neighborhood.
Using this they can analyze the chemical composition of the compounds to detect odors that the insects detect.
LOCUST WARM IN HARMONY
Grasshoppers communicate with their neighbors before they change their direction of movement, according to a recent study from the universities of Bath, Warwick and Manchester
As a swarm grows, the locusts in it are likely to stay on course.
In a small group, the researchers discovered that locusts do not really interact.
But as the number increases, the locusts begin to move in a uniform direction.
The mathematicians believe the insects are sensitive to randomness, so disrupting the order of their swarms can help them fall apart.
This can be good news for farmers, as the insects eat their own weight of food every day, threatening crops in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.