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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )

Related News Stories - (" Biology ")

Hackers Insert Malware Into DNA
'They tied the memory to the bloodline and that was their record!' -

Worms Eat Plastic Now
'Slowly and inexorably, the rate of dissolution increased...' - Davis/Pedlar, 1971.

Mini-Brains In A Dish
'Cultured brains on a slab.' - Peter Watts, 1999.

NASA's Prototype Lunar Greenhouse For Mars And Moon
'In contrast to the airless desolation outside, the interior of this five-acre greenhouse was the one most desirable place to be.' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1951.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

3D Printed Artificial Muscles Are Stronger Than Yours
Bots don't need to work out.

Fog Computing (AKA Edge Computing) Ad Hoc Networks
'The tiny devices chirped their impulse codes at one another...'

Dubai Scorpion Police Hoverbike Ready To Pull Young Kirk Over
'Is there a problem, officer?'

HEXA Robotic Help For Plants
Then some unknown race had chanced upon the dreamers and decided to "help them out."

Korean Tesla Model S Video 'Excelsior' Is Indeed Our Motto
'Improving man by bringing him close to Nature, while they combine the sensations of coasting with the interest of seeing the country well...'

DIY Robot Shoots You In The Face
'...there were automatic guns that fired ligamine darts.'

A Bayesian Approach to Safe Imitation Learning For AIs and Robots
Um, how about that pension for the humans who serve as the models for robot behavior?

Qoobo Headless Robotic Therapy Cat Was Anne McCaffrey's Idea
'...used as surrogates in intense dependency cases.'

Autonomous Cars Talk To Each Other At MCity
'My cars talk to one another.'

PUFFER Robots - From Philip K DIck's Second Variety?
'Across the ground something small and metallic came, flashing in the dull sunlight of midday.'

Russian Space Garden
'We saw the gardens, flooded with artificial sunlight...'

Targeted Neuroplasticity Training For 'Downloading Skills'
'I know kung-fu.'

U of M's MCity To Feature Asimov's Automatobuses
Should you turn autonomous buses off?

Crazyflie Drone Swarm Technology
'...Programmed to hang in space in a hexagonal grid pattern.'

Our GodBot, Who Art In Cyberspace
Vaal hungers! We must serve him.

easyJet Short-Haul Electric Jets
Have a little faith, will you? They're working on it.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.