Though it might sound surreal, a company called draper had already developed a prototype of living dragonfly drone, which is a bio-electronic association which can perform numerous tasks, such as artificial pollinations, surveillance or even as miniature assassin like on British TV series 'Black Mirror'.
The future of miniature drones.
It might be more like a science fiction to think of miniature drones. Many movies and media’s have already made use of this possibility to entertain the audience like the Black Mirror, Eye in the sky etc. But how cool will it be knowing that these miniature drones are indeed a reality? The logic might be a bit hard to digest, but believe it guys, our technology is far advanced than we guess. Birth of Nanotechnology and its conglomeration with biology, electronics, physics etc helped the science world reduce their material size by a great factor. Now there are similar drones under research that can travel through our blood and destroy cancer, how cool will that be? But here scientists have created something that is an association of a living thing with an electronic device that could theoretically interfere the decision-making process of an insect. Let us dive into some depth
The bionic dragonfly
This surreal modified dragonfly is created by a company called as Draper. And yes, it is, in fact, real, may be similar to the one they have featured in the ‘Black Mirror’. Researchers have implanted a backpack to a living dragonfly, which has electronic circuits inbuilt in it, powered by a mini solar panel that could guide flies according to the course researchers set. Rather than hacking into muscles, they use genes that are found in the eyes of dragonflies which results in the light sensitivity. Using genetic engineering these genes are associated with the steering neurons in the nerve cord which is then controlled by flashes of light that are generated from the backpack. This is a more practical application of neurotechnology, optoelectronics, and genetic engineering.
How these dragonflies benefits us?
The current development falls on the first generation of bionic dragonflies under the project DragonEye. The primary aim is to steer this little creature artificially, whose phase 1 testing is yet to be done. For the Gen 1, they have developed a backpack, optrode, and a genetic toolkit to modify their behavior towards light signals. In second-generation, a much more superior version of the first generation flies might be developed whose exact flight can be tracked and adjusted. These bionic dragonflies can be used as for artificial pollination, payload delivery, exploration, surveillance, and even for precision medicine and diagnosis.
Draper combines navigation and neuromodulation to ###AD_UNIT###