Our new cyborg insect overlords

Tom James @ 14-07-2009

livesilkmothContinuing the robotic insect theme: researchers in Japan are developing the means to recreate the brains of insects in electronic circuits and thus modify existing insect brains to perform useful tasks, like finding narcotics, and earthquake victims:

In an example of ‘rewriting’ insect brain circuits, Kanzaki’s team has succeeded in genetically modifying a male silkmoth so that it reacts to light instead of odour, or to the odour of a different kind of moth.

Such modifications could pave the way to creating a robo-bug which could in future sense illegal drugs several kilometres away, as well as landmines, people buried under rubble, or toxic gas, the professor said.

Kanzaki also observes how remarkably adaptable biological organisms are:

“Humans walk only at some five kilometres per hour but can drive a car that travels at 100 kilometres per hour. It’s amazing that we can accelerate, brake and avoid obstacles in what originally seem like impossible conditions,” he said.

Our brain turns the car into an extension of our body,” he said, adding that “an insect brain may be able to drive a car like we can. I think they have the potential.

It certainly raises interesting questions about how to achieve intelligent machinery: why reinvent the wheel creating strong AI? We can reverse engineer animals that fly or hunt then adapt them to our purposes.

[from Physorg][image from Physorg]


Military and eco-technology

Tobias Buckell @ 26-09-2007

Aggressor1Earth 2 Tech has a list of ways the military is using eco-technology. It includes solar power tents, aviation bio-fuel, micro fuel cells, hybrid drive technologies, and personal solar cells for recharging in the field.

There is a great deal of money in the military, and often research and innovation comes out of the military side that trickles down to civilians (night vision, Hummers, etc). It would be intriguing if green technologies are invented in the military industry have an effect on daily life. So far, however, most of these innovations look like they’re being taken from civilian industries and being tested in military arenas.

Now all we need is a eco-DARPA and we might see some very interesting results!