With little electronic backpacks installed on their backs, giant flower beetles are being remotely controlled while in free flight. Scientists from the University of California, Berkeley and Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) gained insight into how the insects fly and identified the use of these beetles in areas such as search-and-rescue.
The thought of these little bugs sporting backpacks makes me chuckle, but if they will be of service with search-and-rescue, I’m all for it!
The beetles were first placed in a closed room equipped with eight 3D motion-capture cameras. Using radio signals transmitted to the backpack once every millisecond, the researchers selectively stimulated different muscles. By doing so, they were able to get the insects to take off, turn left or right, or hover in place.
Similar research is being conducted at North Carolina State University, except instead of beetles, they are testing with cockroaches. It seems fitting that some of the peskiest bugs are put to work for us.
It might be fun to be the one to train these beetles (or cockroaches) in a very high tech way and have them follow your commands – releasing the inner animal trainer in you.
When you are ascending inside a tall building, you wait impatiently for the ‘bing’ that signals you are about to take a ride. Anyone who has ever stared into an open elevator car with someone already in it has likely asked this somewhat inane question: “Going up?” There’s really only two choices for where the elevator is headed – up or down… And if the elevator car isn’t heading in the direction you wish to go, you have several options:
- if there’s more than one elevator shaft, wait for the next car to arrive and ask the same question of that occupant (hopefully they are going up!) and continue on your journey skyward
- if there’s only one elevator shaft, ride down with the occupant, then reverse course (gives you a false sense of accomplishment as you are still moving, albeit in the opposite direction of where you wish to end up…)
- allow the car to go down without you, punch the up button on the wall panel again & wait in the hallway whistling tunelessly, all the while being painfully aware of the time you are wasting
- find the nearest staircase and plod your way up by foot (a great cardio workout if you have more than 6 flights to climb!!)
Having addressed the somewhat silly aspects of this desire for a ‘lift’, let’s get on to the more serious, as discussed in this article from The Washington Post…
Otis Elevator Company, the legendary manufacturer that invented the first safety brake, has been at the forefront of developing efficient, sustainable, people-moving technology for more than 160 years. Otis re-examined every aspect of the elevator to create an evolved, environmentally-responsible and highly efficient Gen2® elevator system. By pairing innovative belt technology with the ReGen™ drive – which can harness electricity previously lost as heat – Otis elevators are 75 percent more efficient than conventional systems.
(If you’re not too tired from all that stair climbing, maybe this article will inspire you to create designs of your own to improve efficiency and environmentally friendly product technology… And maybe you’ll be ‘going up’ – headed for a great new job?)