In the December 2010 issue of Scientific American University of California, Berkeley, scientists Michel Maharbiz and Hirotaka Sato describe how they combined off-the-shelf computer electronics with nanosurgical skill to create cyborg beetles that are part machine and part insect. During flight, the beetles respond to radio commands from the researchers.
In the series of clips below, the beetles respond to commands to start up and turn left or right. The beetle begins to fly when its optic lobes are stimulated. A right turn occurs when the muscles on the left side of the insect are stimulated. A left turn occurs when the muscles on the right side of the insect are stimulated. These tiny flyers—or more likely their successors—may one day save lives in wars and disasters.