Cyborg Insect Comm System Planned By DARPA
DARPA's HI-MEMS 'cyborg insects' are now being designed to communicate with each other by modulating their usual calls.
(Tobacco hornworm with circuit and electrode implanted in pupal stage.)
Following close on the success of researchers in actually growing electronic control circuits in living insects (see HI-MEMS: Control Circuits Embedded In Pupal Stage Successfully), DARPA is now looking for additional functionality.
Insects will be equipped with embedded MEMS transceivers that pick up modulated calling sounds from nearby insects. Once the information in a call is extracted by the transceiver, the information code is applied to an electromechanical device on board the insect that modulates the insect calls, thereby retransmitting the information to another insect, and so on.
Science fiction and fantasy readers, alone among other human beings, are unfazed by this news. For example, we've seen (and read) about Gandalf talking with a moth in its own language, and then sending it as a message.
(Gandalf talks to moth in LOTR)
I'm surprised DARPA hasn't requested this as a feature; why shouldn't soldiers be able to talk directly into this network?
Fans of Dune of course recall the distrans, a technology that allows the user to imprint a message on the normal cry of a bat, which could then be interpreted by the person who receives the bat.
The whole idea of embedding control circuits in a living insect was inspired by the 1990 sf novel Sparrowhawk by Thomas A. Easton; read the full story in HI-MEMS: Cyborg Beetle Microsystem.
Finally, as far as I know, the earliest person to describe the idea of a controlled insect delivering a message was Philip K. Dick in his 1966 novel The Simulacra; see the entry for the commercial fly.
Update: Also, don't miss the related story Obama Destroys HI-MEMS Prototype (thanks, Yossi!) End update.
From Wired via our friends at Frolix-8.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/19/2009)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )
Related News Stories -
Amazing 'Hybrid' Solar-Powered Sea Slug Does Photosynthesis
Thank goodness for Star Trek.
Should You Submit Your DNA To A Database?
Consumer DNA services are often inaccurate.
Humans Evolve Deep Diving Abilities
Sounds like '60s sci-fi to me.
Researchers Create Bowls, Coils, Ripples Of Living Tissue
'... biological robots were not living creatures.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1972.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."
Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'
DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'
Ancient Russian Walking Excavator Would Be Perfect RV
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.
ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.
When Robots Beg For Their Lives
"Just what do you think you're doing... Dave.'
Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...'
'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'
Quiet Electric Cars Law Finalized By US Transportation Department
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'
Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...'
Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.
Bezos Invites You To New Life In Off-World Colonies
'A new life awaits you!'
Amazon's Rekognition System Sees Criminals In Congress
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'
Build Your Own Space Suit For Cheap
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'
CIMON Space Sidekick For Weary Astronauts
I welcome our floating robotic assistants.
SRI MicroFactory Of Microrobots Recalls Dick's Autofac
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants... constructing something...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories