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Hey, Don't Swat That Fly, It Might be a "Friendly"


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UPI Homeland and National Security Editor


Facing problems in its efforts to train insects or build robots that can mimic their flying abilities, the U.S. military now wants to develop "insect cyborgs" that can go where its soldiers cannot.

The Pentagon is seeking applications from researchers to help them develop technology that can be implanted into living insects to control their movement and transmit video or other sensory data back to their handlers.

In an announcement posted on government Web sites last week, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, says it is seeking "innovative proposals to develop technology to create insect cyborgs," by implanting tiny devices into insect bodies while the animals are in their pupal stage.

As an insect metamorphoses from a larva to an adult, the solicitation notice says, its "body goes through a renewal process that can heal wounds and reposition internal organs around foreign objects, including tiny (mechanical) structures that might be present."

The goal is to create technology that can achieve "the delivery of an insect within five meters of a specific target located at hundred meters away, using electronic remote control, and/or global positioning system." Once at the target, "the insect must remain stationary either indefinitely or until otherwise instructed ... (and) must also be able to transmit data from (Department of Defense) relevant sensors ... includ(ing) gas sensors, microphones, video, etc."

The move follows challenges the agency says it has encountered in its efforts to train insects to detect explosives or other chemical compounds, and to mimic their flight and movement patterns using small robots.

Several years ago, DARPA launched a $3 million project to train honeybees to find landmines. According to a report by the American Forces Press Service, scientists used sugar-soaked sponges treated with explosives to get the bees to identify the smell as a possible food source.

But last week's solicitation says the project didn't work out.

"These activities have highlighted key challenges involving behavioral and chemical control of insects... Instinctive behaviors for feeding and mating -- and also for responding to temperature changes -- prevented them from performing reliably," it says.

Read the rest of the article Here.

So this summer, when those pesky bugs start annoying you, just remember, they might be real "bugs".


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Good question, Donnie.

I may have to re-consider my pulling the wings off of flies trick for fear of a war crimes trial. :lol:

Mane notes that he has never gotten any useful information out of the flies using this method of interrigation.

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I guess my days of catching flies and dropping them into spider webs so I can watch the spider kill and dine are gone. :(

Man,you're getting scarier by the minute,Donnie! :superscare::sofa1:

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