Created insect cyborgs, able to search for explosives

Today, detection of landmines, bombs and other explosive devices, soldiers, engineers or specially trained dogs. However, each time they risk their lives, so scientists are trying to develop new ways to detect explosives, and for disposal of used robots. Recently American scientists have managed to introduce into the brains of locusts electrodes and turn them into cyborgs, able to smell the explosive contained in the device material. The accuracy of detection is an impressive 80%, but this technology has several significant disadvantages. And nobody knows, scientists will be able to fix them.

About how American scientists have managed to turn the locust into a cyborg, been described in the scientific journal New Scientist. Researchers were aware that when the receptors of the antennae of locusts fall into a variety of substances in their brains are activated completely different areas. They suggested that if the head of the American locust (Schistocerca americana) to implant electrodes to capture reactions to various smells, they will be able to recognize the presence in the air of particles of explosives. To test their hypothesis, the researchers conducted an experiment.

Insects know how to find the explosives

As mentioned above, the scientists implanted in the brains of locusts electrodes to capture the electrical activity of neurons in response to odors. The electrodes were stretched to attached to the back of the insect to the device for amplifying the incoming signals. Then antennae insect cyborgs were exposed to particles of different explosives. In this way scientists have figured out which areas of the brain are activated when the smells of certain chemical compounds.

In the second phase of the study insects were taken to our rooms, the air which was filled with particles of different explosives. According to calculations of scientists, every single insect recognize the type of substance with 60% accuracy, and when using multiple insects, the accuracy increased to 80%. This is a very good results, but that’s due to several disadvantages of the technology in insects-cyborgs can’t be used as sappers.

The first big drawback is that after the introduction of electrodes into the brain and the back of the amplifier signals, the insects are unable to move independently. Even in the course of the experiment they had to carry on the truck, so to release locusts into the mined field to search for explosives obviously will not work. However, it is likely that researchers will be able to reduce the size of the electrodes and amplifiers.

The second disadvantage is that after the introduction of electrodes into the brain, the insects lived for more than seven hours. However, this is not such a big problem, because insects and so cannot be called centenarians, besides a few hours should be enough for a successful military mission.

It is noteworthy that this is not the first technology of searching explosives with the help of tiny creatures. In 2019, we told you about the company Raytheon, which has developed genetically modified bacteria, capable of finding mines and to signal their location with bright light. Read more about this technology you can read in our special article.