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On the slippery slope to Mecha-Mothra
May 9, 2013 1:41 PM   Subscribe

Turns out moths are pretty good at operating small robotic vehicles.
posted by prize bull octorok (17 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Are there horrible moth photos on the article? I HAVE MOTH FEAR but I like tiny robots.

this is like sophie's choice except with fewer nazis
posted by elizardbits at 1:43 PM on May 9, 2013


.. and more moths?
posted by fight or flight at 1:50 PM on May 9, 2013


oh my god that is a big fucking moth
posted by elizardbits at 1:53 PM on May 9, 2013


Months can't even fly straight, why would we trust them to drive anything?
posted by bondcliff at 1:55 PM on May 9, 2013


The moth was asked on its thoughts, and fluttered out the reply: "it's a living."

Who knew the future was Flintstones?
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:58 PM on May 9, 2013



oh my god that is a big fucking moth
posted by elizardbits at 1:53 PM on May 9 [+] [!]


I mean it could be a whole lot bigger.
posted by FirstMateKate at 2:05 PM on May 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Not that this isn't neat, but it's more accurate to say that moths know how to walk towards a desirable scent. Their action of walking was converted in a rube goldberg-esque manner into platform movement, which the moth happened to be sitting on.
posted by odinsdream at 2:15 PM on May 9, 2013


LIKE I'M GONNA CLICK come on
posted by elizardbits at 2:23 PM on May 9, 2013


I mean it could be a whole lot bigger.

You can't fool me. Those aren't moths. They're two-dimensional pigeons.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 3:03 PM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is interesting, but I also have a moth phobia. Not small moths, I am somewhat used to those. But I saw a giant moth fluttering at my bedroom window the other night and it caused a bit of insomnia, even after it had gone away. Looked like a small bird. I know the research is aimed toward teaching robots to sniff out scents, but I would pay for an anti-giant moth repellant spray.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:57 PM on May 9, 2013


Next up: Pyrophilic robots.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:04 PM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


For anyone curious, the moth gifs I linked to are of an Atlas moth. They only live aout 2 weeks in the moth stage, and do not have mouths. They survive on baby fat.

Serious question. For all you who are afraid of moths: are you also afraid of butterflies?
posted by FirstMateKate at 7:26 PM on May 9, 2013


They survive on baby fat.
You say they have no mouths, but if that's true, would you care to explain how they eat the cute, fat human babies?
I think that guy should get the moth off his finger, ASAP.
posted by agentofselection at 9:10 PM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


butterflies are also grotendous but at least they don't divebomb your face in the dead of night when you turn on your feeble little light source out in the wilderness.
posted by elizardbits at 9:30 PM on May 9, 2013


odinsdream - yeah, totally.

But if we could teach moths to use micro/nano-quadrocopters and genetically engineer them to detect telltails from different explosives and hook that up to their sex drive, that's a serious pitch for DARPA money.

Discussion: Advances in molecular biology and olfactory nerve receptor engineering coupled with the quick lifecycle of silk moths may allow near-realtime production of many highly mobile tracking devices that can actively seek individuals based on a single sample of their pheromones.

However, the author and all coauthors agree that aggressive termination/non-reproduction mutations must be robustly introduced into these potential constructs, adding to the complexity/cost of this project and would require material construction to ensure the containment of the constructs in the case of natural disasters.
posted by porpoise at 10:28 PM on May 9, 2013


Moths are one of my favourite insects (they're so furry!), and if you think this one is big you clearly haven't seen a bogong moth.

Also there were not enough videos of the moth spinning the trackball for my liking.
posted by Joe Chip at 11:04 PM on May 9, 2013


But if we could teach moths to use micro/nano-quadrocopters and genetically engineer them to detect telltails from different explosives and hook that up to their sex drive, that's a serious pitch for DARPA money.

It really is pretty neat... it's a very tiny baby step towards what seems inevitable: instead of the core of robots being microprocessors, it's going to eventually be wetware from genetically engineered creatures.
posted by odinsdream at 6:08 AM on May 10, 2013


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