NOTE: The video below may be disturbing for some viewers.
Editors of the Journal of the Royal Society Interface publish articles “of high quality research at the interface of the physical and life sciences.” Their April 2016 issue includes, with cover art, a large beetle turned into what they refer to as an “insect–computer hybrid legged robot.”
The protraction/retraction and levation/depression motions in both forelegs of the beetle were elicited by electrically stimulating eight corresponding leg muscles via eight pairs of implanted electrodes. To perform a defined walking gait (e.g. gallop), different muscles were individually stimulated in a predefined sequence using a microcontroller. Different walking gaits were performed by reordering the applied stimulation signals (i.e. applying different sequences). By varying the duration of the stimulation sequences, we successfully controlled the step frequency and hence the beetle’s walking speed. To the best of our knowledge, this paper presents the first demonstration of living insect locomotion control with a user-adjustable walking gait, step length and walking speed.
Read more here.