Chinese researchers became the first to control pigeons via remote control
Scientists from the Robot Engineering Technology Research Center at Shandong University of Science and Technology successfully used micro electrodes implanted in a pigeon's brain to make it fly left, right, up or down
. The scientists used implants to stimulate different sections of the pigeon brain according to signals that scientists sent via a computer, which forced the pigeon to comply with the operator’s instructions.
Su Xuecheng, chief scientist on the project, said that his trials are the first experiment conducted like this in the world -- the scientists previously tried something similar with lab mice two years ago, with improvements in device design and technology being one of the leading reasons this trial worked.
The Chinese team did not specify exactly how the remote-control pigeon would be utilized in real-world applications. Su has successfully carried out the same experiments on mice since 2005.
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is also working on trying to control animals. Earlier this year, DARPA announced a project to actively manipulate a shark's brain signal, allowing scientists to accurately control the shark's movements. This technology would be used to help these 'stealth sharks' patrol the open seas.