Behaving cyborg locusts for standoff chemical sensing

Darshit Mehta, Ege Altan, Rishabh Chandak, Baranidharan Raman, Shantanu Chakrabartty

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Cyborg insects provide a unique platform to implement autonomous robotics on a large scale. Compared to vertebrates, insect cyborgs can be deployed in swarms and at a significantly lower cost. In this paper, we propose a cyborg sensing platform that leverages the acute olfactory sensing capability of locusts (Schistocerca americana) for standoff detection of target chemicals. Contrary to cyborg sensing technologies that are based on implantable neural devices, the proposed platform relies on extraneous palp tracking which can be measured non-invasively for extended periods of time. In this work, locusts are conditioned (trained) to respond (move their palp) to a specific target odor and the palp movements are measured in real-time using a silver-enhanced infrared reflectance technique. The measured results correlate well with a gold-standard palp tracking method. The efficacy of our platform based on behavioral readout is demonstrated for non-invasive chemical sensing.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Dreams to Innovation, ISCAS 2017 - Conference Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781467368520
StatePublished - Sep 25 2017
Event50th IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems, ISCAS 2017 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: May 28 2017May 31 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems
ISSN (Print)0271-4310


Conference50th IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems, ISCAS 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • biosensor
  • chemical sensing
  • cyborg
  • locust
  • sniffer
  • standoff detection


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