Life On Earth
DARPA’s Nuclear-Powered, Cyborg Insects
I never thought I’d live to see the day where I could (honestly) write an article on nuclear powered, cyborg insects but DARPA has made this nerdy wet dream a reality. Read on for more info and even video footage!
It has been less than 2 years since a DARPA funded team managed to wire up a microchip (and transmitter system) onto a rhinoceros beetle and already they have taken this project to the next level.
Their remote controlled rhino beetle (chosen because of its ability to carry up to 3 grams) can literally be controlled from a laptop. In the following video you can see the team controlling the robotic creature in their laboratory.
These cyborgs were created with the intention of being deployed as surveillance devices and do a very effective job at that. Their movement requires no artificial power source (excluding the miniscule quantities of food required by an insect) allowing them to traverse long distances with minimal difficulties.
Where the technology hit limitations was the battery life of the surveillance and recording equipment, but the solution didn’t take long to find – now they are packing radioactive fuel sources onto their drones!
When electrons are ejected from the radioisotope they accumulate on a lever, giving it a negative charge. This negative charge pulls the lever onto a positively charged plate and the resulting connection drains the electrons into the electronics.
The radioactive fuel source lasts for approximately 12 years, giving these cyborgs almost a decade of spy use.
Written by: Ben Lovatt
Source: eEarth TV
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