Scientists have been taking inspiration from animals for quite some time. A lot of out technological developments are based on attributes that animals around us already have.
As part of this process of growing through nature, scientists have also been experimenting with biobots, which are essentially animals fitted with electronics.
These animals are then controlled through these electronics, so that they can use their natural attributes for performing tasks that we want them to perform.
By doing so, we cut out the long process of replicating the natural attributes of animals and go directly to using them for our own gains. An example of this sort of experimentation are the Cyborg Locusts being developed by researchers from Washington University.
The researchers behind the projects selected locusts, because these creatures are known for their highly tuned olfactory systems, which lets them detect all sorts of materials through smell.
By creating a system to control these locusts, the scientists are therefore able to turn them into highly trained sniffer dogs without actually going through the process of training real dogs.
To control the locusts, the scientists place specially crafted plasmonic tattoos on their wings. These tattoos generate heat, which is then used to steer the locusts, since they are known to shy away from it.
With this easy system, the scientists can easily maneuver the locusts through a maze of obstacles, all the while tracking specific materials through their sense of smell.
While this may sound like a perfect system, there is still, however, a lot more research to do, before these locusts could prove a viable alternative for traditional detection methods. We will make sure to keep you updated on any progress, as it happens.