Michel M. Maharbiz

Associate Professor

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

University of California, Berkeley

Title: "Cyborg beetles: building interfaces between the synthetic and the multicellular"

Abstract: "In this talk, I will discuss recent work in my lab's ongoing exploration of the remote control of insects in free flight via implantable radio-equipped miniature neural stimulating systems. The basic systems consisted of a pronotum-mounted radio transceiver-equipped microcontroller, a microbattery and neural and muscular stimulators. Flight initiation, cessation and elevation control were accomplished through neural stimulus of the brain which elicited, suppressed or modulated wing oscillation. Turns were triggered through the direct muscular stimulus of either of the basalar muscles. We have characterized the response times, success rates, and free-flight trajectories elicited by our neural control systems in remotely-controlled beetles. Recent results with pupally-implanted neural interfaces and extreme miniaturization directions will be discussed."

Bio: "Michel M. Maharbiz is an Associate Professor with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley for his work on microbioreactor systems under Professor Roger T. Howe (EECS) and Professor Jay D. Keasling (ChemE). His work led to the foundation of Microreactor Technologies, Inc. which was acquired by Pall Corporation. Dr. Maharbiz has been a GE Scholar and an Intel IMAP Fellow. Professor Maharbiz's current research interests include building micro/nano interfaces to cells and organisms and exploring bio-derived fabrication methods. His group is known for developing the world's first remotely radio-controlled cyborg beetles. This was named one of the top ten emerging technologies of 2009 by MIT's Technology Review (TR10) and was in Time Magazeine's Top 50 Inventions of 2009. Michel's long term goal is understanding developmental mechanisms as a way to engineer and fabricate machines."