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.
Las Vegas Humans Ready To Strike Over Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot... had to be compensated.'
You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.'
Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'
Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.
Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.
Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'
First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.
VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'
Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.
Nanorobots Roam Your Bloodstream, Cleaning It
Too bad they won't have lasers, though...
Galini 3D Printed Sleeping Pod Tiny Houses
'The houses are prefabricated units...'
MIT Boffins Create Psychopath AI On Purpose
There's a lesson in this for neural net AI engineers everywhere.
Skin Electronics 3D Printed
'June's body is a tracery of lambent lines, like some arcane capillary circuitry...'
Artificial Sensory Neurons For Prosthetics, Robots
Great for humans and robots!
China Uses Artificial Intelligence To Grade Student Papers
Looks like the City Fathers are starting to take over China's education system.
Electronic Tongues Will Rule The Kitchen
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories