Computational creativity and the future of AI

Insect

One of the giant flower beetles, in human-controlled flight (Photo: Tat Thang Vo Doan and ...

Studying insects in flight can be difficult. They're usually tethered in place, although this may affect the manner in which they fly. That's why scientists from the University of California, Berkeley and Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) took a different approach – they installed an electronic backpack on giant flower beetles, allowing them to be remotely controlled while in free flight. The technology not only gave the researchers a better insight into how the insects fly, but it could also find use in areas such as search-and-rescue.  Read More

A newly-created compound eye-inspired system may complement existing accelerometer navigat...

Most modern aircraft, cruise missiles, spacecraft – in fact, almost all flying vehicles – use an accelerometer for flight stabilization. Living creatures that fly, on the other hand, rely on their own innate sense of balance determined by environmental observation and inbuilt organ-based systems. Now French researchers have designed a bio-inspired, sight-based system that could be used in conjunction with accelerometers to vastly increase the autonomous capabilities of drones by endowing them with more natural flying abilities.  Read More

Dr Piotr Nacklewski allowed two human bot fly larvae to grow to maturity under his skin (P...

Entomologist and wildlife photographer Piotr Naskrecki is not squeamish. He recently allowed two human bot fly larvae to grow to maturity under his skin and documented the process in a short film.  Read More

Termitat is an educational sealed termite habitat

Do you have termites in your home? If not, would you like to? Not ones that are living in the wooden structure of the building itself, of course – that'd be no fun. Instead, the Termitat securely houses a colony of Pacific Dampwood Termites within a clear acrylic housing, where you can watch them going about their business on a daily basis. It's like an ant farm, except instead of dirt it has a disc of Douglas Fir wood, and instead of ants it has ... well, termites.  Read More

A color-changing tree, printed with the new ink

British scientists have already looked to principles employed by butterfly wings, as a means of thwarting currency counterfeiters. Now, researchers from China's Southeast University have developed another such technology, that's inspired by a different insect – a color-changing longhorn beetle known as Tmesisternus isabellae.  Read More

One of the mic-bearing NCSU biobots

If you're ever trapped in a collapsed building and are calling for help, you might want to think twice before squashing any cockroaches that wander your way – one of them might have been sent to find you. Researchers from North Carolina State University are currently laying the groundwork for such a scenario, by getting cyborg-like "biobot" cockroaches to move towards sounds. Down the road, such insects may be used to locate victims at disaster sites.  Read More

The Invisiband bracelets slowly releases oil from geranium flowers to ward off mosquitoes

Lathering yourself in mosquito-repelling lotions might not be ideal, but it's better than those red swellings that would otherwise pop up on any exposed skin. The Invisaband releases a natural oil to confuse mosquitoes' senses, saving you from bites and applying layers of oily repellents.  Read More

'The major question is, why would we not eat insects?' (Photo: Shutterstock)

Jiminy Cricket may be able to do more than guide our consciences: he, or his kin, may also provide food security solutions for a growing and hungry world. However, the notion of insects-as-food struggles to find widespread traction amid problems with standardization of food safety standards, government disinterest and only a small body of research. So is there a future for cricket sushi or fried silk worms?  Read More

A moth in the NCSU flight-assessment rig

We've been hearing a lot about the development of tiny flying sensor-equipped robots, that could be sent into areas such as disaster sites to seek out survivors or survey the damage. However, why go to the trouble of designing those robots from scratch, when there are already ready-made insects that are about the right size? That's the thinking behind research being conducted at North Carolina State University, which is aimed at converting moths into "biobots."  Read More

Male medflies that are genetically altered using the RIDL technique don't produce viable f...

Mediterranean fruit flies are responsible for extensive damage to fruit and vegetable crops, not only in the Mediterranean region but also in Australia, North and South America. While existing methods of controlling them include the use of insecticides and sterilization, the University of East Anglia and biotech company Oxitec are pioneering what they claim is a greener and less expensive approach – they're genetically modifying male fruit flies to produce only male viable offspring.  Read More

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