The components of the electronic "backpack." Image credit: Draper (Via IEEE)

Here's a creepy story for your morning: researchers have created a cyborg dragonfly using robotics jacked into the insect’s nervous system.

Scientists at the Massachusetts-based R&D company Draper combined animal and machine to make DragonflEye, a mix of living dragonfly and electronic “backpack.” The electronics activate individual neurons with optical pulses, which can then be used to send commands to the dragonfly’s wings, taking advantage of its natural maneuverability.

So, is this cruel and unusual, or an important step for science? Seems like a bit of both. Either way, this particular Pandora's Box has already been opened. Principal investigator Jesse J. Wheeler said that the research could lead to new ways to monitor vulnerable ecosystems and develop more efficient miniaturized technology.

More information can be found in this interview from this January. A video from June 1 shows flight tests at Janelia Research Campus in Virginia.

(Via IEEE.)

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