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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Newsflash: U.S. Military's Latest Weapon: Cyber-Bugs!

Remember when this blog covered the Robo-roach? It turns out that the military thought that was a good idea, too. They have now made sophisticated beetle cyborgs, capable of watching you in your sleep, or naked in front of your PC.



...Y'know, as if purely mechanical drones weren't enough. More on the how and why below:

"Facing problems in its efforts to train insects or build robots that can mimic their flying abilities, the U.S. military now wants to develop "insect cyborgs" that can go where its soldiers cannot.
The Pentagon is seeking applications from researchers to help them develop technology that can be implanted into living insects to control their movement and transmit video or other sensory data back to their handlers.

In an announcement posted on government Web sites last week, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, says it is seeking "innovative proposals to develop technology to create insect cyborgs," by implanting tiny devices into insect bodies while the animals are in their pupal stage.

As an insect metamorphoses from a larva to an adult, the solicitation notice says, its "body goes through a renewal process that can heal wounds and reposition internal organs around foreign objects, including tiny (mechanical) structures that might be present."

The goal is to create technology that can achieve "the delivery of an insect within five meters of a specific target located at hundred meters away, using electronic remote control, and/or global positioning system." Once at the target, "the insect must remain stationary either indefinitely or until otherwise instructed ... (and) must also be able to transmit data from (Department of Defense) relevant sensors ... includ(ing) gas sensors, microphones, video, etc."

The move follows challenges the agency says it has encountered in its efforts to train insects to detect explosives or other chemical compounds, and to mimic their flight and movement patterns using small robots.

Several years ago, DARPA launched a $3 million project to train honeybees to find landmines. According to a report by the American Forces Press Service, scientists used sugar-soaked sponges treated with explosives to get the bees to identify the smell as a possible food source." -Source with more. Now you'll be carrying a flyswatter wherever you go...just in case.


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