Myoelectric Locust (MEL)

Probably my craziest project was suggested by my biologist friend Jeff.  The idea, based on Jeff’s research in insect nervous systems and flight, involved augmenting your garden-variety locust with electrodes implanted in its wing muscles, electric motors and wheels.  The result was the Myoelectric Locust.  When Jeff first suggested it, I reacted with horror, as you probably are now.  But we ended up doing it anyway, in a marathon hacking session of a weekend, plus two very late nights (I was working my regular job on Monday and Tuesday.)

Here are the pages that Jeff put together documenting our insanity.  The video links are probably broken right now.

We got some press coverage out of that one.  Our fifteen minutes of infamy.

  • Story on Slashdot.
  • Article in Wired News.  (Link is broken.) My firsthand experience with being misquoted.
  • There was an article on dz.yandex.ru in Russian about it.  (The link is broken now, and my Russian isn’t good enough to find a new one.) I can’t make out a word of it.  They nicked the pictures from Jeff’s poster presentation.

2 Responses to “Myoelectric Locust (MEL)”


  • It drives again… stay tuned. The Arduino is amazing.

    Jones.

  • My two honours students have, just today, finished their theses using the new locust car. We’re preparing a manuscript for JOVE for publication shortly (you’ll be a co-author buddy). Our web site will be updated shortly with more details of the new car.

    As well, the Biomedical Engineering department as officially adopted the locust car as a ‘4th year thesis project’ and have assigned two of their students to work with the new cars this year.

    I have three more honours biology students pursuing projects using the car.

    Jones.

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