Squadrons of “cyborg beetles” may sound like science fiction, but could soon become reality after the mid-air movements of real free-flying insects were controlled by scientists for the first time.

Beetles were made to take off and land, fly to the right or left, and even hover in mid-flight thanks to a radio transmitter and a miniature backpack of electronics attached to the insects.

If the technology can be further refined, it would be possible in the future to use flying insects as miniature drones loaded with tiny electronic sensors for flying over and searching difficult terrain, they said.

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