Genetically modified cyborg dragonflies prepare to become spies

At the Janelia Research Center, Virginia, scientists from Draper's Lab and Howard Hughes Medical Institute have completed testing a genetically modified cyborg dragonfly, which they dubbed DragonflEye. This is not the first such experiment with dragonflies.

The insect is equipped with a fingernail-sized "backpack" containing electronic equipment powered by tiny solar panels. The flight of DragonflEye is controlled by the operator.

The cyborg dragonfly is planned to be used as a controlled pollinator, for transporting miniature cargo, as well as for espionage purposes. DragonflEye is able to get into places where ordinary drones cannot get, which has been confirmed by a series of successful experiments.

To create DragonflEye, scientists had to genetically modify the nervous system of a dragonfly, "teaching" it to respond to light impulses. To do this, a "light-sensitive" gene, ospins, was introduced into it, which, when exposed to light, activates neurons.

The signal received from the operator is sent to the interface located in the "backpack" of the dragonfly, from where, in the already processed form, it is transmitted to the wings, and the insect flies in the desired direction.