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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pentagon's Cyborg Insects Ready To Fly

For years, The Pentagon backed scientists and researchers have been trying to create cyborg insects that could serve as living, remote controlled snoopers. The problem is, those modified insects never lived long enough to be of any use. Now a professor Robert Michelson says he's managed to get the bug 'cyborgs to live into adulthood.

DARPA's Hi-MEMS program wishes to implant place micro-mechanical systems "MEMS" Once placed inside the creatures during the early stages of metamorphosis, as the bugs get older, tissues grow around and fuse together with the micro machines.

Flight International reports that, in his latest work, Michelson truncated a Manduca moth's thorax "to reduce its mass." Then he put in "a MEMS component, where abdominal segments would have been, during the larval stage."

Images taken by x-ray of insects with these changes and others found that tissue growth around the inserted probes was good. One DARPA goal is to show that during locomotion the heat and mechanical power generated by the thorax could be harnessed to power the MEMS.

Ultimately, DARPA wants these MEMS to remote-operately the insects, either through "direct electrical muscle excitation, electrical stimulation of neurons, projection of ultrasonic pulses simulating bats, or projection of pheromones. The ultimate goal would be to have the cyborgs carry one or more sensors, such as a microphone or a gas sensor and send back the information."

This technology is going to be incredible, Just think of the future possibilities or err ramifications