Mechanism

Creativity with ROI Advertising? Email info@mechanism.com for more information

The Problems Posed By HI-MEMS Technology

The US Military has a history of being involved in controversial animal experimentation but this latest project by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)  is pushing the boundaries even more. The Hybrid Insect Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (HI-MEMS) program, also called the Cybug Program, aims to encourage the development of cyborg insects, i.e. using nano technology combined with the bodies of living insects, which can be controlled by humans. These hybrid insects, or cybugs as they are known, are designated to be used for superior reconnaissance drones and the advancement of military weapons.  Apparently, the goal of DARPA is to design a reconnaissance cybug which can be manoeuvred to a range from five feet from its target, and transmit information from there about its environment. However many details of this project are still shrouded in secrecy.

The idea at present is that cybugs could be successfully engineered by placing a small bio-electromechanical interface, for example a microchip, into a larva.  The purpose behind this early-stage implantation is to exploit the natural healing process which occurs in the insect developmental stages, which in theory should improve the stability and robustness of the cybug system.  Theoretically, as the larva goes through metamorphosis and reorganises its nervous system, it should integrate itself into the circuit in such a fashion that will allow humans to transmit signals to the chip and control the behaviour of the insect.  It has to be said that entomologists, in the majority, are sceptical about the chances for success of this program, and it also raises some serious ethical questions, regarding exploiting and experimenting on insects in this way.

This HI-MEMS program is not the first experiment by DARPA into cyborg development.  They announced their cyborg shark project at the 2006 Ocean Sciences Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii. Additionally, an earlier project with wasps failed, when the insects flew away to feed and mate.

With so many rapid advances in technology these days, particularly in electronics and nanotechnology, it seems ludicrous as well as unethical for the US government to spend millions of dollars in trying to generate insect-robot hybrids to fulfil functions which we could now achieve through technology alone.

 

Picture courtesy of www.wired.com

 

Britannia

Britannia

Top Posts | Electrical

Why Smart Watches Need Interactive Features

First popularised by Japanese manufacturer Seiko, smartwatches have been around for approximately 3 decades now. The early versions of these allowed the wearer/user to perform basic calculations, view feed data and see different time zones.  The succeeding generation had GPS incorporated ... ...

Wearable Tech Takes Center Stage: Part 2

Remember what happens when we incorporate technology into our clothes and accessories? That’s right, we get a whole lot more functionality from the things we wear daily. By simply combining textiles with electronics, we have changed our own idea of what convenience is and what it can be like ... ...

Reflecting Wi-fi to Save Battery Life

The modern world is a connected one. Smartphone and tablet sales are on the rise while more people own computers and the latest technological devices than ever before. Wi-Fi hotspots are springing up all over the globe and people are becoming connected wherever they go thanks to the incredible adva ...

Will we Soon Drive on Solar Roadways?

When we sit back and take a good look around, we see that many companies are now developing new products, buildings, and roads for a more sustainable world. Companies are now concentrating on sustainable technologies such as electric airplanes and cars. Furthermore, companies now produce more energ ...

Wearable Tech Takes Center Stage: Part 1

Adding a whole new dimension to the term “looking smart”, smart clothing is currently the talk of the town. Smartphones are slowly becoming yesterday's news. The world is moving on to bigger, better and more fashionable innovations, and that cool app you downloaded last week will bo ... ...

The Problems Posed By HI-MEMS Technology

The US Military has a history of being involved in controversial animal experimentation but this latest project by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)  is pushing the boundaries even more. The Hybrid Insect Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (HI-MEMS) program, also cal ... ...

Robot Helps Children With Autism

There's a new form of therapy for children with autism, and it comes in the form of a robot. This robot, named NAO, is programmed by University of Denver professors. According to engineering professor Mohammad Mahoor, this project is aimed at one goal, and that is to develop better social inter ... ...

Are the Latest TVs Too Smart?

There is a recent advertising campaign from Samsung, sporting the slogan, “TV has never been this smart.” That’s the trouble - soon we may be wondering if TV is getting too smart for our own good!First patented in 1994, the latest technology in televisions, the “Smart TVs&rd ... ...

3D Robotics Unleashes Quadcopter Drone

Drones have been around for quite some time now and the demand for better technology just keeps increasing. Solo, which partnered with GoPro finally managed to create a self driven drone when 3D robotics finally unleashed the Quadcopter drone that comes with full in-flight camera control. This came ...