Operation DragonflEye is a go.
The program that set out to create a cyborg dragonfly has successful strapped a tiny backpack fitted with electronics, sensors and a solar cell to a live insect – and it has taken to the skies for its maiden flight.
The DragonflEye is controlled by pulses of light sent through the pack to specific neurons in its brain, allowing researchers to remotely operate the drone-like bug to guide pollination or explore areas unfit for humans.
HOW WAS IT DONE?
Engineers had to develop a way of genetically modifying the nervous system of the dragonfly so it can respond to pulses of light.
To do this, the team gave the insect a gene which added light-sensitive proteins called ospins to the neurons.
This then allowed the neurons to be activated by the light – sent by an interface in the ‘backpack’ called an optrode.