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DARPA to create brain-chipped cyborg moths

Looking to bug al-Qaeda

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For now, DARPA only aims to manufacture chipped moths, which it reckons to send into suspected terrorist facilities (presumably including al-Qaeda linen cupboards - that'll show them).

The bot-cored lepidoptera will be controlled by various methods such as "electrical muscle excitation, electrical stimulation of neurons", or the intriguing "presentation of optical cues with micro-optical visual presentation", suggesting miniscule displays strapped over the hapless creatures' eyes. Our personal favourite means of moth control, however, is "projection of ultrasonic pulses simulating bats".

The tiny Terminators will be worthwhile because "insect cyborgs...could carry one or more sensors, such as a microphone...to relay back information gathered from the target destination."

Talk about a bug problem. Etc.

Worryingly, MIT's Brooks adds: "The [Defense Department] has said it wants one third of all missions to be unmanned by 2015, and there's no doubt their things will become weaponised, so the question comes: should they be given targeting authority?"

We say: please God, no. Except maybe in the case of eating holes in Osama bin Laden's clean keffiyeh.

Meanwhile, in what can only be yet another chilling media coincidence, other cyborg-related news broke today. Reuters reports that Arnold Schwarzenegger - the man who gave such a convincing portrayal of a soulless killer machine wearing human flesh as a disguise - is spearheading a new biological research initiative as governor of California.

"We are as powerful as any one can ever be on stem cell research," Mr Terminator reportedly said.

Reuters also noted that: "Stem cells are a kind of master cell for the body, capable of growing into various types of cell or tissue and cell. Scientists hope to use the cells to repair tissue damaged by disease or injury."

Terrifyingly, this mirrors the language of DARPA's Lal as he describes his process for chipping-up innocent creatures and turning them into zombie slaves under computer control.

"The renewed tissue growth around the MEMS will tend to heal, and form a reliable and stable tissue-machine interface..."

That's it. We're down to the bunker with a whole lot of survival rations. And bug spray. ®

*Verbatim. Go on, check the page.

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