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 -
Mushroom Eats Plastic, Saves Planet
Fungus Amongus, SaveUs!
Is There Extraterrestrial Life Here In The Solar System
'How fast is it moving? ...one meter per minute.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1982.
Chinese Fern Helps Remediate Arsenic Soil
'Bioengeering had put out a spec report on the long crawly things five months back.' - Gregory Benford, 1983.
New Lifelike Material Powered By Artificial Metabolism
'... The 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.
Road Noise Charges Electric Cars With Peugeot Piezoelectric Billboard
''... major cities of Earth have free electrical power conveniently processed from their own noise.'
Unsinkable Metal Latest Gates Obsession
'A metal... light as cork.'
M-Blocks 2.0 Self-Assembling Robots
'Faster the cubes moved...'
NASA 'Broomstick' Recalls SciFi Ideas
'The appearance was enough like a giant witch's broom to justify the nickname.'
Orbital Display's Low Earth Orbit Advertisements
'A vast circle of scarlet stars came up into the greenish desert dusk.'
Neuromorphic Computing Hardare
'He had constructed an organ, a brain, of metal, entirely inorganic and lifeless...'
Vascularized Human Skin 3D Printed
Trillionaires Still Earth-Bound
'I shall never forget the sight... when the yellow gleam of the precious metal appeared under the star dust.'
Digit V2 Bipedal Robot From Agility Robotics
Oh, and now I suppose someone will develop the robotic porch pirate.
3D Printed Dubai Building Is World's Largest
'This thing will start at one end of ...a house and build it complete to the other end, following drawings only.'
Grow Plants On Moon Or Mars!
'In contrast to the airless desolation outside, the interior of this five-acre greenhouse was the one most desirable place to be.'
California Gets Shockwave Rider-Style Avoidance Zones
'It was cheaper to pay the refugees to go without up-to-the-minute equipment.'
Microbot Interstellar von Neumann Explorers
'Evidently they have never had a planet of their own...'
Hail SmartCan! Your Trash Bin Takes Itself Out
'...a waste can twenty feet away stirred into life.'
Finally! Microsoft Surface Neo And Surface Duo Implement Excellent Courier Idea
'Runcible, whose pages were thicker and more densely packed with computational machinery...'
Tap Strap 2 Now With Air Mouse
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories