Scientists are working on genetically modified cyborglibellen

Scientists are working on genetically modified cyborglibellen

Photo: Draper

A biomedical company has a small backpack made for dragonflies, that could change in drones that can be used for pollination and supervision.

Draper, the company that the technology works, calls this project DragonflEye. The backpack is equipped with solar panels that energy is generated. In addition, there is a guidance and navigation system, consisting of optogenetische tools.

Those tools ensure that the dragonfly can be controlled via the neurons in the nervous system of the animal, which are responsible for the fly.

That technology is developed in collaboration with a medical institute, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). The researchers have found a way to dragonflies sensitive to light, by of genes that are present in the eyes.

From the outside, controlled

When the genes and the tools, the so-called optrodes, coming together, then the dragonfly from the outside to be controlled by light.

In an interview with IEEE Spectrum shows principal investigator Jesse J. Wheeler already know the first version of this system have made. But it seems that it has not yet been tested at this time.

“In the first year of this project we have concentrated on the backpack, the technology and the optrodes. Now we come to the second year started, we want dragonflies to actually relax with our backpacks.”

“Then we can cyborglibellen in a closed environment to test and follow, to meet the required dates. As a result, we will soon be able to software for tracking and sending the dragonflies.”

If the technology works as planned, then it can be used for pollination, or even supervision. And since the core of the technology in the backpack, which would later also can be used on bees and other insects of the same size.

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