Scientists Are Developing Genetically Modified Cyborg DragonFlies

Posted: Jan 29 2017, 11:27am CST | by , in Technology News


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Scientists Are Developing Genetically Modified Cyborg DragonFlies
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Technology is on the verge of reaching its epitome. The latest development will leave you in awe. Scientists from a biomedical solutions company known as Draper are working to develop a rather interesting technology. They are working on a project which will be able to convert a dragonfly into a drone. The Project has been named DragonflEye Project.

The project’s hero is the main back pack equipped with solar panels to harvest energy. The Project also has an excellent integrated guidance and navigation system. Draper has worked hard to develop this system and has collaborated with Howard Hughes Medical Institute for the whole system along with the optogenic tools. This project basically hijacks the muscles of the insect.

The basic essence of the project is to enable commands to be sent from the backpack to the neurons of the dragon fly. The commands specifically hit the ‘steering’ neurons of the bug which are responsible for its flight. Once control has been gained over the steering neurons the HHMI researchers developed a way in which the insect could be made sensitive to light.

This was made possible by incorporating genes which are naturally found in the eyes. These genes are placed very intelligently in to the back pack of the insect so that insects can be guided through pulses of light. The lead researcher of the Program Jesse J.Wheeler gave an interview to IEEE in which he announced that the team has created the first generation of the system already.

He further explained that in the first year the team was focused on developing core enabling technologies. These mainly comprise of the backpack, optrude and synthetic biology toolkit. In the second year he stated that his team was more focused on equipping the first generation dragon flies with backpacks. The experimentation was done in a motion capture room.

This room allows the precise flight developments to be obtained through the navigation system. This data becomes the basis of development of algorithms regarding autonomous navigation. This technique is so powerful that if it does manage to be manufactured it could be used as a tiny surveillance system or pollination machines. The main key in the whole system is the backpack and according to Jesse it may be implemented on other insects such as honeybees which have a similar size.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/32" rel="author">Ahmed Humayun</a>
Ahmed Humayun is a technology journalist bringing you the hottest tech stories of the day.




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