Sunday, February 19, 2017
Sci-Fi Becomes Reality: GMO Cyborg Dragonfly Could Soon Be Spying On You
It seems DARPA, the ultra-secretive military research agency, may be getting a run for its money when it comes to developing advanced and alarming forms of surveillance. A private research venture has produced a genetically modified cyborg dragonfly that can deliver payloads, as well as perform ‘guided pollination’ and surveillance missions. Using insects as covert forms of spying on citizens has long been a dream of the government. It appears the day is finally upon us when that weird bug flying a little too close for comfort may actually be one of Uncle Sam’s little insectoid deputies.
Called DragonflEye, the GM cyborg is half-insect, half-machine and is controlled via a fingernail-sized backpack, which allows a remote operator to control its direction. The dragonfly is powered by a solar panel. Developed by R&D company Draper Labs in collaboration with the Howard Hughes Medical Institution, the project required new technology. Controlling the dragonfly’s flight navigation actually required modifying the dragonfly to react to pulses of light. This involved giving the insect a gene that creates light-sensitive proteins.