Tiny Cars driven by Moths!

This article is provided by: Go-Forth Pest and Lawn

How you might ask? Well the easy explanation is that scientists developed a tiny car that is steered using a Styrofoam ball. Then a moth is placed directly onto the ball, which it can then walk around on top of to steer. You may be thinking this would lead to aimless steering, or nothing since moths have no incentive to walk on small Styrofoam balls to operate tiny cars. The trick is all in the scent

It’s pretty cute, watching a moth steer a tiny car around, but why would scientists spend their time making tiny cars for moths? Well it can’t be driven by any moth, this can only work if you use a silkworm moth. The silkworm moth has antennae that have the ability to sense smell, and in the above video the scent they used was of a female silkworm’s pheromones.

The entire experiment is actually meant to observe and measure the ability of an odor tracking robot when operated by an insect. The success rate for the experiment was 100% for the moths, who would circle the odor spot presented. Current odor tracking methods are comprised of only well trained animals, such as the dogs you would find at airports or with police officers. The hope is that this experiment will open up paths to finding operated methods of odor tracking, since the moths uses sensory abilities in it’s antenna and not nostrils.

If you’re interested to learn more about this experiment, the entire procedure was recorded and documented¬†on Jove.com from students at the University of Tokyo. Do you have any thoughts on moth controlled robots? Are they cute, or putting our canine friends at the risk of job security? Comment with your thoughts!

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