Insect-inspired robots are nothing new, but an insect driving a robot is decidedly novel. Graduate student Garnet Hertz managed to get a cockroach to control a mobile robot back in 2006, but scientists over at the University of Tokyo changed it up a bit by having a silk moth drive a small two-wheeled bot in pursuit of a female sex pheromone. As with the cockroach, the male moth steered the bot by walking around on a rotating ball, no training required. This isn’t just for fun and games of course; the eventual goal of the study is to apply the moth’s tracking behavior to autonomous robots, which will be helpful for situations like hunting down environmental spills and leaks. Until then, we’re crossing our fingers for a moth-driven Monster Truck rally. Check out both cockroach and moth-driving videos after the break.
Update: The university has just released their journal article about the study, which we’ve linked to in the source.