NPR : News

Filed Under:

Mothra? No, It's Just A Robot Exoskeleton Controlled By A Moth

What could go wrong?

"Researchers at the University of Tokyo have strapped a moth into a robotic exoskeleton, with the moth successfully controlling the robot to reach a specific location inside a wind tunnel," writes ExtremeTech.

We immediately thought of Mothra.

But there is, apparently, a reason for this research.

"Fortunately, the Japanese researchers aren't actually trying to construct a moth master race," ExtremeTech says. "In reality, it's all about the moth's antennae and sensory-motor system. The researchers are trying to improve the performance of autonomous robots that are tasked with tracking the source of chemical leaks and spills. 'Most chemical sensors, such as semiconductor sensors, have a slow recovery time and are not able to detect the temporal dynamics of odors as insects do,' says Noriyasu Ando, the lead author of the research. 'Our results will be an important indication for the selection of sensors and models when we apply the insect sensory-motor system to artificial systems.' "

Of course, Mothra was once a hero. So maybe no one except Godzilla should be worried.

The scientists' paper — "Odour-tracking capability of a silkmoth driving a mobile robot with turning bias and time delay" — is posted here.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Swiss Army Man' Directors Explain The Symbolism Behind A Farting Corpse

The directors of Swiss Army Man — Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert — talk to NPR's Kelly McEvers about what inspired them to make a movie about a flatulent corpse, and the deeper meaning behind it.
NPR

Can Arnold Schwarzenegger Persuade China To Eat Less Meat?

Like the U.S., China is battling obesity and climate change. So it's urging citizens to eat less meat — and spreading the word with public service ads featuring Hollywood stars.
NPR

Brexit: What's Race Got To Do With It?

Why did the U.K. just vote for something so economically disastrous? Some point to racial tension resulting from record levels of immigration within the EU.
NPR

Shock, Rage And Gallows Humor: A Brexit Backlash On Social Media

Young voters had overwhelmingly voted to remain in the European Union. Now there's a flood of anger from those who accuse older generations of choosing a future they don't want.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.