New technology can be a fascinating thing. It can also be a terrifying thing, as evidenced by countless science fiction and horror stories. Which brings us to a new technology that has become increasingly more common over the last few years: electronic control of insects.
Think of them as zombie insects or cyborg (part organic, part machine) insects, these are real insects that have been outfitted with electronic controls to allow the insects to be controlled by a human being. Michael Irving gives us details:
Over the past few years, a variety of cyborg animals have been unleashed, as scientists kit out cockroaches, locusts and even turtles with electronic accoutrements. Back in January, researchers from Charles Stark Draper Laboratory and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) outlined plans to fit dragonflies with tiny electronic backpacks, allowing them to be controlled remotely. In a new video, their cyborg dragonflies have taken flight for the first time.
The animal kingdom is fertile inspirational ground for new technology, but it’s difficult to properly mimic the speed and manoeuvrability of a dragonfly, or the complicated olfactory system of a locust. Rather than designing robots and sensors from scratch, scientists have developed ways to take advantage of the hard work nature has already done, by equipping live insects with electronic systems.
In the case of Draper’s and HHMI’s DragonflEye, the insect is controlled through pulses of light piped into certain neurons in the bug’s brain, which allows a human pilot to steer it like a drone. The eventual aim, the team says, is to use the tiny cyborgs to guide pollination, deliver payloads, or scout unsafe territory.
With the new video, the team has revealed how the solar-powered backpacks are attached to the insects, and briefly shown the DragonflEye taking wing for the first time. (hat tip to here for the source)
You can watch the 37 second video here.
What is scary about this type of technological development is that the intended purposes overtly lend themselves to surveillance and military purposes. Using this type of technology, the NSA could conceivably directly spy on you or place a tracker on your person both of which are violations of your right to privacy, not that the NSA has been concerned about that anytime recently.
What do you think the solution is to prevent abuse of our rights through this technology? Tell us below.