Cyborg Insects To Spy by TechLegacy


									                      Cyborg Insects To Spy
London: Scientists have moved closer to creating „cyborg insects‟ that could
carry out spying missions with the creation of biofuel cells that run off their
own bodies.

A team has created the implantable power packs that use the insects‟ own
body chemistry to fuel robot attachments fixed on to them.

The breakthrough brings us one step closer to the day when bugs could be
fitted with recording devices, sensors or other electronics and used as tiny
spies - an area which the US military‟s DARPA research wing, has already
researched extensively.

It is already researching how to „control‟ insects using hi-tech attachments.

“Bees have been used to locate mines and weapons of mass destruction. The
Hybrid Insect Micro Electromechanical Systems program is aimed at
developing technology to provide control over insect locomotion, just as
reins are needed for effective control over horse locomotion,” Darpa‟s site

The new technique, where the insect can „power‟ electronic attachments
using its own body chemistry, could be crucial.

Until now researchers had relied on solar power or conventional batteries but
they were not powerful enough or did not last long enough to do the
required tasks.

The „cyber bugs‟ could potentially keep going for days on end - or even for
as long as they are alive.

The research from Case Western Reserve University in the US involved
putting two enzymes into cockroaches to break down the complex molecules
they make after eating.

The first turns the molecules into sugar, and the second oxidises it - in the
process releasing electrons.

These electrons are then run into the battery and produce a current.

After the tests the Case Western team put electrodes into the insects and
found there was no long-term damage, which means they could be re-used
for a number of missions.

Daniel Scherson, chemistry professor at Case Western and senior author of
the paper, said that the possible uses were endless.

“An insect equipped with a sensor could measure the amount of noxious gas
in a room, broadcast the finding, shut down and recharge for an hour, then
take a new measurement and broadcast again,” the Daily Mail quoted
Scherson as saying.

The research team is now trying to make the battery as small as possible so
that the insect can fly or move around without the power pack restricting it.

They have calculated that the maximum output from the battery is currently
100 microwatts per square centimeter, at 0.2 volts.

A typical AA battery, the kind used to power many electronic devices,
provides 1.5 volts.


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