Cyborg dragonflies: Research achievement or another sign of the robot apocalypse?

The idea of combining organic material with biomechanical parts has been a staple of comic books and sci-fi stories since the 1960s. From the Cybermen and The Borg to Darth Vader and Cyborg, the marriage of flesh and machine has fascinated our imaginations ever since childhood. But now cybernetic organisms are making the leap into the real world courtesy of the DragonflEye program, which is creating cyborg dragonflies.

According to Sophie Weiner for Popular Mechanics: "Researchers at Charles Stark Draper Laboratory and Howard Hughes Medical Institute present DragonflEye, an insanely futuristic cyborg dragonfly that researchers can remote control.

DragonflEye was created by genetically modifying regular dragonflies with 'steering neurons' in the insect's spinal cord, which are light sensitive. Tiny, fiber-optic-like structures in the dragonfly's eyes send pulses of light to their brains, functionally controlling where the insect flies via remote control. The dragonfly also carries a miniature 'backpack' with sensors and a minuscule solar panel to power the data collection technology. In theory, the dragonfly will be able to be steered by the researchers and will collect data via its sensors from environments that aren't safe for humans."

To learn more, read "This Genetically-Modified Cyborg Dragonfly Is the Tiniest Drone" from Popular Mechanics.