DragonflEye was created by genetically modifying regular dragonflies with “steering neurons” in the insect’s spinal cord, which are light sensitive. Tiny, fiber-optic-like structures in the dragonfly’s eyes send pulses of light to their brains, functionally controlling where the insect flies via remote control. The dragonfly also carries a miniature “backpack” with sensors and a minuscule solar panel to power the data collection technology. In theory, the dragonfly will be able to be steered by the researchers and will collect data via its sensors from environments that aren’t safe for humans.
This technology is both amazing and terrifying—it’s not hard to imagine this kind of genetic modification used on higher-up species to creepy effect, and the idea of regular-looking insects acting as spies is a little nerve-wracking.
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