Hirotaka Sato

School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University

CYBORG INSECT: locomotion control of living insect via small radio devices

We have designed and manufactured a miniature wireless communication device which can be mounted on a living insect and electrically stimulate its neuromuscular site. With the device, we have developed stimulation protocols to induce our desired motions and behaviors in flight and walking. Through this research, we have discovered that a tiny flight muscle, which had been thought to solely function in folding wing, has another function in left and right turnings in air [1]. For walking control, by electrically stimulating multiple leg muscles under pre-determined sequences, we successfully control the step length, speed in walking and demonstrated different walking gaits [2]. The developed technology of the hybrid robot is attempted for rescue and search missions in disaster-hit area in future.

The work is financially supported by Nanyang Assistant Professorship (NAP, M4080740), MOE Academic Research Fund in Singapore: Tier 1 Grant (2015-T1-001-094) and Tier 2 Grant (2013-T2-2-049).

[1] Hirotaka Sato et al. (2015). Deciphering the Role of a Coleopteran Steering Muscle via Free Flight Stimulation. Current Biology, 25(6), 798-803. http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(15)00083-4
[2] Feng Cao et al. (2016). Insect-computer hybrid legged robot with user-adjustable speed, step length and walking gait. Journal of The Royal Society Interface, 13(116), 20160060. http://rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/13/116/20160060