Home > Hardware > The Internet of Insects Is Coming to You Powered by Fuel Cells

The Internet of Insects Is Coming to You Powered by Fuel Cells

We’ve had the Internet for a few decades, and recently terms such as the Internet of Things, previously as (connected) embedded systems, and the Internet of Everything have started to become a common features of tech speak. But following research from Osaka University and the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT), we may soon start to talk about the Internet of Insects.Connected_Coackroach Japanese researchers have developed a fuel cell that can be mounted on an insect, and generate powered from sugar (trehalose) found in the insect’s body fluid (blood lymph). The fuel cell consists of electrodes, a tank of body fluid and a pipe to be inserted into the insect. Then some chemical “magic” occurs. There’s already a prototype, which has been unveiled at IEEE MEMS 2014, an academic conference that tool place on January 26-30, 2014, in San Francisco. The prototype has been 3D printed, measures about approximately 20 x 15mm, and has been found to generate up to 50.2μW of power when inserted in a cockroach.

The final goal, which may be many years away, is to combine the fuel cell with sensors and radio to create wireless sensor networks composed of cyborg insects – real insects that can be controlled -, in order to avoid the need to deploy many wireless sensor networks. A research paper published in 2011, and entitled “Self-circulation System of Insect Hemolymph for Insect-mountable Biofuel Cell” provides technical details.

Via Nikkei Tech-on

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  1. onebir
    February 1st, 2014 at 18:34 | #1

    So look forward to battery-free roboroaches: https://backyardbrains.com/products/roboroach

    (Got to wonder: what about just sticking in a few Zn & Cu metal electrodes… Works with potatoes :)

  2. Gabe
    February 1st, 2014 at 19:47 | #2

    @onebir
    Potatoes can’t be controlled :)

  3. onebir
    February 1st, 2014 at 20:24 | #3

    @Gabe
    But Zn Cu electrodes can be stuck directly into cockroaches. (Perhaps? Ethics aside…)

  4. February 1st, 2014 at 20:44 | #4

    Simple.. put a small potato on the back of the cockroach… Problem solved!

  5. onebir
    February 1st, 2014 at 21:31 | #5

    @cnxsoft Until it starts to rot & the other cockroaches eat the potato! :)

  6. mary
    February 2nd, 2014 at 02:37 | #6

    doesnt say how they are going to control the insect. will need more than just electric producing probes to do that.

  7. onebir
    February 2nd, 2014 at 04:17 | #7
  8. mary
    February 2nd, 2014 at 22:36 | #8

    @onebir
    hmm ok thank you.

  9. ssvb
    February 3rd, 2014 at 19:29 | #9

    @mary
    The Matrix movie can provide some inspiration and ideas :-)

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