Embedded Bugs

'Beetles, Crickets and Moths …Oh My!'

According to the experts who spoke with ABC News, solitary insects are the key to submitting a proposal to DARPA this time around, and moths top the list.

"They have been reared, and their development has been studied," said Ewer. They grow to be big and strong, he added, and "feed only on nectar or sugar water."

"There are moths, which can carry up to 2.8 grams," added Garcia, pointing to moths' strength as their best asset.

As for other picks, Ewer, the entomologist, pointed to cockroaches for being unobtrusive but speedy runners and to beetles for their strength as walkers. Although dragonflies hold allure for their size, Ewer cautioned that they are very fragile creatures.

Any Wind Beneath Its Wings?

Known for its high-risk ventures, DARPA may not be so off-target in this project.

"This will teach us a great deal about insect behaviors, neuromuscular response, and ways of interacting with neural signals and other cues that govern insect behavior," said Garcia. "If we are not able to create insect cyborgs, we will still greatly advance to several areas of engineering and extend our understanding of entomology."

"This experiment is worth a try for a lot of applications," added Ewer, citing its possible military benefits, namely in Iraq, as well as its possible advantage in mining and subway accidents.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...