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WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

While many people are focused on traditional drones there are others who are trying to create bio-machine drone hybrids, and their uses could include surveillance and other nefarious purposes.

 

At a certain point it becomes really difficult to scale down machines, after all, a tiny drone can only be so tiny, so now scientists at Draper University in the US have come up with a solution, make a drone out of a dragonfly, and one day it could be teamed up with this “cyborg” remote control mouse

 

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Researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) have genetically modified a dragonfly to make the nerve endings in its spinal cord light-sensitive. The team at Draper then attached a backpack, powered by a tiny solar panel, that can control the dragonfly remotely with flashes of light. It allows them to send the insect where they want.

 

Watch it in action

 

Is the experiment cruel to dragonflies? Entomologists believe it’s pretty unlikely that insects “feel” pain in the way we do.

 

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And the technology has some important applications. For example, it could, if we stretch the art of the possible, be used to replace bees that farmers depend on, but that are dying out at a rather alarming rate, or be used to monitor the health of beehives in a novel way. But cyborg insects like this one could also be used as the next generation of surveillance equipment – something that, funnily enough, hasn’t been lost on the Chinese or US Governments who both have their own “Cyborg insect” programs under way, and combine it with plants that can also act as surveillance devices, thanks to DARPA, and, yes, the world just got a lot weirder for you. Welcome to my world.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, award winning Futurist and Founder of the 311 Institute is described as "The Adviser behind the Advisers." Recognised for the past five years as one of the world's foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an author, entrepreneur international speaker who helps investors, multi-nationals, regulators and sovereign governments around the world envision, build and lead the future. Today, asides from being a member of Centrica's prestigious Technology and Innovation Committee and mentoring XPrize teams, Matthew's accomplishments, among others, include playing the lead role in helping the world's largest smartphone manufacturers ideate the next five generations of mobile devices, and what comes beyond, and helping the world's largest high tech semiconductor manufacturers envision the next twenty years of intelligent machines. Matthew's clients include Accenture, Bain & Co, Bank of America, Blackrock, Bloomberg, Booz Allen Hamilton, Boston Consulting Group, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, Du Pont, E&Y, Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, HPE, Huawei, JP Morgan Chase, KPMG, Lloyds Banking Group, McKinsey & Co, Monsanto, PWC, Qualcomm, Rolls Royce, SAP, Samsung, Schroeder's, Sequoia Capital, Sopra Steria, UBS, the UK's HM Treasury, the USAF and many others.

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