Cyber-insect army, attack!

March 20, 2006

I like this BBC story on US military technology. Imagine future battlefields with swarms of deadly attack-moths raining down on our foe. (Better watch out, China — unless you have a surplus of lightbulbs or headlights, you’re so screwed.) Well, it is now possible. As you read this, our government is even developing ways to use the butterfly as a bomb detecting recon unit. Scared? You should be!

The idea is to slice into the pupa during metamorphosis and insert a chip for the butterfly to form around. Later, when the delicate insect representing everything peaceful, free, and beautiful in the world emerges from its pupa, it will become a ruthless bomb sniffing battlefield buddy, controlled remotely by the chip deep in its being. It could also be equipped with microphones or cameras.

Did anyone ever watch or read All Quiet On The Western Front? The last thing we need are a bunch of butterflies zipping around our soldiers in our war zones. We all know what happened to Paul. “Don’t reach for the butterfly, Paul, don’t…shit, too late. :(”

DARPA has a history of destroying innocent things in the name of Freedom, however, so I have the utmost confidence that they will make this butterfly scheme work. They are known as ruthless cat-bombers and as the mentors to many Dolphin assassins. See for yourself:

WWII: Attach a bomb to a cat and drop it from a dive-bomber on to Nazi ships. The cat, hating water, will “wrangle” itself on to enemy ship’s deck. In tests cats became unconscious in mid-air

WWII: Attach incendiaries to bats. Induce hibernation and drop them from planes. They wake up, fly into factories etc and blow up. Failed to wake from hibernation and fell to death

Vietnam War: Dolphins trained to tear off diving gear of Vietcong divers and drag them to interrogation, sources linked to the programme say. Syringes later placed on dolphin flippers to inject carbon dioxide into divers, who explode. US Navy has always denied using mammals to harm humans

Other attempts:
-Arpanet information processing system – a precursor to the internet
-Self Healing Minefield – the mines reconfigure themselves to fill gaps when one or more are stepped on
-Brain Interface Programme to wire soldiers directly into their machines
-Mechanical Elephant to penetrate dense Vietnam War jungle. Unused
-Policy Analysis Market – online futures market where “traders” wager on future terrorism and assassinations
-Computer game, Tactical Iraqi, to teach troops how to decipher Iraqi body language

The mechanical elephant idea kind of amuses me. “We can’t get the dastardly Viet Cong with napalm, Agent Orange, or tunnel rats, but we’ll damn well get them with robot elephants!” Now I see why we lost the war.

The idea on that list that does scare the shit out of me, though, is the self healing minefield. That just sounds frightening. The thing I don’t get about it is how we can make a minefield that repairs itself mid-battle, but we can’t find a way to detect mines in postwar zones so children don’t step on them. They’re banned for that very reason by most of the world, and yet…well, whatever. DARPA knows best.

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