Scientists at Michigan University, USA, adopted an unfamiliar strategy to observe the behavior of a single species of snails by transforming them into “cyborgs” so they can keep a track of them and study their survival.
History of invasive snail:
Harnessing power from the living world has always been a dream for humans, and between geothermal, solar, and other sources, we’re getting a step closer every day. Shortly, there might be the availability of more power from the world of tiny shelled creatures.
In the 1970s, wildlife researchers presented an invasive snail, also known as the rosy wolf snail to the Society Island of French Polynesia. As a result the invasive snail has eliminated almost every existing snail species in the surrounding area, representing a destructive loss of biodiversity. However, five species somehow managed to survive, including the Particle hyaline.
Particle hyaline is significant for Polynesians because of its eccentric color, making it exceptionally attractive for use in jewelry. Tree snails are also of pivotal importance for the island forest ecosystems, being a dominant group of native grazers.
Usage of Micro Mote (M3) in solar snails:
With the alliance between the scientists of the University of Michigan and engineers of the world’s smallest computers, scientists acknowledged the reason why Particle hyaline can tolerate more sunlight than its invasive predator. The Particle hyaline crawls at the edges during the daytime while its predator is compelled to hide in the shade.
During the midday sun, the Particle hyaline is able to withstand 10 times more sunlight compared to the rosy wolf snails. The scientists suspect that the predator couldn’t crawl far enough into the forest edge to catch the Particle hyaline because they wouldn’t be able to look for shade if the sunlight became too hot.
In 2014 by the team of researchers at the University of Michigan, developed the world’s smallest complete computer – the Michigan Micro Mote (M3). The tiny computer was attached to the rosy wolf snail’s shell allowing them to wirelessly gather data never before observed, utilizing miniature electronics that could be the start of a new wave of cyborg technology.