Wednesday, November 7, 2007 at 9:36AM
Researchers at the University of Arizona have accomplished the amazing, and somewhat bizarre, feat of connecting a 6-inch-tall wheeled robot to the brain of a moth. As the moth observes activity around it, the signals from its brain are translated and sent to a computer that directs the robot to turn toward wherever the moth is looking.
The moth's vision has evolved over millions of years to accurately guide theThe researchers also pointed to other potential uses for moth-based technology:
insect as it dodges predators or seeks mates. Although the moth brain is
the size of a grain of rice, the insect's ability to detect motion is "amazing
-- beyond anything we could build," said senior author Charles M. Higgins, an
associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of
Higgins said a robot hooked into the moth's sophisticated olfactory system might
one day be used to detect bombs. After all, he said, "if it blows up, all you've
lost is a moth."