Researchers tested the insect-controlled robot to demonstrate the potential of an autonomous robot that could track smells.

To research and evaluate the capabilities of a robot that could effectively track certain smells, researchers at the University of Tokyo created a two-wheeled robot controlled by a male silkmoth. The robot was driven by the moth as it tracked down the sex pheromone usually given off by a female.

These tests were conducted to characterize the silkmoth’s tracking behaviors and it is hoped that in the future these could be applied to other autonomous robots so they can track down the source of environmental spills and leaks when fitted with highly sensitive sensors. Further evaluations of the insect-controlled robot will provide a ‘blueprint’ for these biomimetic, scent-tracking robots.

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