Skip to main content
Special Feature

Learning from locusts

Researchers have harnessed the locust olfactory system for various applications.

Scientists are pushing human olfactory limits with the help of bugs.

In terms of olfactory capabilities, humans are easily surpassed by our best friend, dogs – but, surprisingly, even insects. Recognising this gap, researchers have pondered on ways to push the limits of human olfaction by integrating nature with technology. "Why don't we use biological systems to recreate our own?" asks Baranidharan Raman, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis (WashU), who has been researching locusts' olfactory systems for two decades, aiming to create bio-hybrid chemo-sensors and cyborgs.

The sudden transformation of a solitary grasshopper into aggressive, crop-infesting swarms sparked the scientific interest in locusts. With their approximately one million neurons, locusts possess small, robust and energy-efficient neural circuits. Additionally, they exhibit a versatile sense of smell. Working with locusts also has technical and ethical benefits.


Get unlimited digital access on any device.

Get the print magazine delivered at home.


PAST ISSUES - Free to Read

Volume 01 Issue 04 Jul-Aug 2022
Read This Issue
Volume 01 Edition 03 Sep-Oct 2021
Read This Issue
Search by Keywords, Topic or Author

© 2024 IIT MADRAS - All rights reserved

Powered by RAGE