Scientists constructed a robotic that may hear via the ear of a lifeless grasshopper

A team of scientists from Tel Aviv University successfully enabled a robot to hear sounds through the ear of a dead grasshopper.

What? Seriously. A university press release highlighting the work of the team stated:

Researchers from Tel Aviv University report that they successfully connected the ear of a dead grasshopper to a robot that receives the electrical signals from the ear and reacts accordingly. The result is extraordinary: if the researchers clap once, the locust’s ear hears the sound and the robot moves forward; When the researchers clap twice, the robot moves backwards.

Photo credit: Tel Aviv University

How does it work It’s actually pretty simple. The researchers used the dead locust’s ear just as they would normally use a microphone. Rather than wire up a man-made electronic device, the team wire up Mother Nature’s work in a similar way.

According to team leader Ben Maoz:

Prof. Yovel’s laboratory built the robot and developed a code that enables the robot to react to electrical acoustic signals. And my lab has developed a special device – ear-on-a-chip – that can keep the ear alive throughout the experiment by delivering oxygen and food to the organ while the electrical signals are coming from the locust’s ear can be removed and amplified and transferred to the robot.

Photo credit: Tel Aviv University

Take quickly: That’s pretty rad. We’ve seen scientists create some weird and wonderful cyborgs by combining insect biology with robotics. Just read this 2017 article about a team of researchers who developed a method to remotely control live dragonflies like drones.

But this new Locust cyborg research is amazing in itself, because instead of controlling a living being’s motor functions, it shows how AI can piece-by-piece harvest of existing biological technology to create a functioning machine à la carte.

Necromancy? In this economy? Indeed, it is hard to imagine that a robotic army could be built more cheaply than designing inexpensive systems that could be para-dropped, for example, in a particular geographic location with the ability to remove their own body parts. How awful is that

You can read the whole paper here.

Published on March 3, 2021 – 17:41 UTC

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