Pentagon to enslave shark-kind
Uncle Sam mobilises remote control fish
Sinister news has leaked out of the US Department of Defence, where plans are afoot to implant mind control devices into sharks in the hope of using them for underwater espionage.
The DoD engineer-designed implant (developed in lab experiments on rats) will be deployed to harness a squad of shark spies, it was revealed at a meeting in Hawaii last week. Until now, applications for the controversial technology have centred on regaining movement in paralysis sufferers.
Sharks' stealthy movement through water makes them perfect candidates for underwater snooping, able to follow ships and submarines without detection. They are one of nature's most successful predators, having been on the oceanic block for 400m years in a relatively unchanging form.
New Scientist reports that a group at Boston University is already using probes in the lab to steer dogfish, a close shark relative. As the dogfish meanders about, researchers take control by beaming a radio signal from a laptop to an antenna attached to the fish.
DoD hopes that as well as controlling the shark's movements, operators could get feedback on what it is feeling. Their amazing sensory powers can follow chemical trails through the sea and detect electromagnetic fields.
If it comes to fruition, the project would cut out hassle for the military; the long standing teams of dolphin mine-seekers used by the US Navy have to be carefully trained, which costs valuable time and fish. ®