Electrical stimulation of coleopteran muscle for initiating flight
Choo, Hao Yu
Date of Issue2016
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Some researchers have long been interested in reconstructing natural insects into steerable robots or vehicles. However, until recently, these so-called cyborg insects, biobots, or living machines existed only in science fiction. Owing to recent advances in nano/micro manufacturing, data processing, and anatomical and physiological biology, we can now stimulate living insects to induce user-desired motor actions and behaviors. To improve the practicality and applicability of airborne cyborg insects, a reliable and controllable flight initiation protocol is required. This study demonstrates an electrical stimulation protocol that initiates flight in a beetle (Mecynorrhina torquata, Coleoptera). A reliable stimulation protocol was determined by analyzing a pair of dorsal longitudinal muscles (DLMs), flight muscles that oscillate the wings. DLM stimulation has achieved with a high success rate (> 90%), rapid response time (< 1.0 s), and small variation (< 0.33 s; indicating little habituation). Notably, the stimulation of DLMs caused no crucial damage to the free flight ability. In contrast, stimulation of optic lobes, which was earlier demonstrated as a successful flight initiation protocol, destabilized the beetle in flight. Thus, DLM stimulation is a promising secure protocol for inducing flight in cyborg insects or biobots.
© 2016 Choo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.