The Thoughtful Animal

Watch this video and it might appear as if that beetle is being operated via remote control.

But wait. IT IS. The critter is a bit of a cyborg actually – part june bug, part computer. The man behind the zombie cyborg beetles is Michel Maharbiz, an associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. I met him last week at an event on the Science of Cyborgs organized by the Science and Entertainment Exchange.

When these arthropods are in the “pupa” stage, they get implanted with electrodes designed to stimulate the neurons in their brains, and the nerve cells that enervate their muscles. The coolest part? The beetle is flown via radio signals between the insect and a hacked Nintendo Wii remote.


  1. #1 The Pondonome
    March 12, 2011

    Very cool!

    I linked to this on my blog, at

    Should get you another two readers in Montana alone.

    The Pondonome

  2. #2 David L
    March 12, 2011

    Sign me up when they have wii-controlled cyborg scorpions!

  3. #3 fl8rmaus
    March 15, 2011

    This is way cooler than tying a string to their leg and flying them in circles (yes we did this in the south when I was a kid).

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