Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"The Snails of War"

Future headline: "PETA protests robotics facility."

Or has that already happened?

It isn't surprising that researchers with an eye on funding from DARPA are trying to create "tiny, self-powered animal/machine hybrids as an alternative to tiny robots" ("The snails of war"" by James Gorman, New York Times March 20, 2012). Insects and other small critters already know how to move and sense things and whatnot. All you have to do to make them into weapons or surveillance tools is create some kind of controlling mechanism, a power supply for the electronics, and suitable hardware (weapons, microphones, whatever). Eventually the technology will be commercialized (probably with surveillance, but not weapons) and everyone will want a iSlug.

It's a strange world where the potential for military applications can make the strangest of dreams come true. Or maybe I'm just strange to think it is.

Ken Pimple, PAIT Project Director

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