The artificial beetle, or a brief manifesto for engineered biomimicry

Michael H. Bartl, Akhlesh Lakhtakia

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The artificial beetle is possibly the Holy Grail for practitioners of engineered biomimicry. An artificial beetle could gather and relay data and images from compromised environments on earth and other planets to decision makers. It could also be used for surveillance of foes and friends alike, and will require ethical foresight and oversight. What would it take to develop an artificial beetle? Several biotemplating techniques can be harnessed for the replication of external structural features of beetle bodies, and thus preserve functionalities such as coloration of the exoskeleton and the hydrophobicity of wings. The body cavity must host a power supply, motors to move the wings for flight, sensors to capture ambient conditions and images, and data transmitters and receivers to communicate with a remote command center. All of these devices must be very small and reliable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number94290B
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Issue numberJanuary
StatePublished - 2015
EventBioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2015 - San Diego, United States
Duration: Mar 9 2015Mar 11 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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