The Pentagons' Insect Cyborgs

The Pentagon is trying to develop "insect cyborgs" able to sniff out explosives, or "bug" conversations by lurking unseen in enemy hideouts with micro-transmitters strapped to their bodies.

The cyborgs — half insect, half robot — would be created by inserting tiny devices into the bodies of flying, hopping or crawling insects while in their larva or pupa stage, so that the mechanisms become part of their bodies and ultimately allow them to be moved by remote control. Their most immediate task could be spotting and identifying the location of roadside bombs in Iraq.

(U.S. President) George Bush announced on Monday that the administration was spending more than $3 billion this year to combat the threat of ``improvised explosive devices.'' Some of that money, he said, would be used to bring together the best minds to think up new ideas.

The "insect cyborg" is clearly one of those ideas. Last week the Pentagon's Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) called for bids on the project.

"Through each metamorphic stage, the insect body goes through a renewal process that can heal wounds and reposition internal organs around foreign objects," a DARPA statement says.
Such techniques will provide a much better link between the microsystem and the insect than simply sticking a microchip to the abdomen of a bee, wasp or cockroach, it believes.

Posted by: DepotGuy 2006-03-16