12:21pm

Wed February 6, 2013
The Two-Way

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

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 6:24 pm

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.

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