Researchers from Israel have presented a robot that hears through the ear of a locust. The device detects sound signals and moves, interpreting the commands.
Scientists at Tel Aviv University have unveiled a hybrid robot they call an earbod. They removed the ear of a dead locust and placed it in a robot so that it could perceive sounds. The organ also triggers impulses to make the device move and interpret what it hears from the environment as electrical signals.
For example, when a robot hears two bangs, it moves backward. Ben M. Maoz, one of the study’s authors, wants to compare the robot’s auditory capabilities with other technologies, since auditory perception is easier to learn than smell.
The team also wants to understand what is outside the insect’s sensory parts and what else they can build into other designs.
To make this possible, the researchers first placed the ear of a dead locust, along with its nerve, in an aquatic environment. This helped in the circulation of sound and air, then they created a network of electrodes. From this, they got a micro-flow chip that will be attached to a hybrid robot.
The chip works like a normal microphone. The robot was then able to interpret the sound through this device.
When the locust ear detects sounds, it converts them into electrical signals, which are then transmitted to the EMS (electrophysiological measurement system), controller and signal processing system (CSPS). The researchers added that this replacement is more effective because it is smaller compared to the ears of other insects.