bobJune 4, 2007 5:42 PM

Yup, bats.

And in my area, you'll see toads parked under the outdoor lights, waiting for "fallout". And geckos on the wall, doing their own "ground-to-air" intercepts.

And let's not forget that other hi-tech countermeasure: UV bug-zappers. Available now, in a Home Depot near YOU!

RichJune 4, 2007 5:48 PM

Moths get trapped by lights because they navigate by the moon. They keep a bright object in the same relative position. They turn around a light as they try to keep it in a fixed position.

That said, I wonder if they could also modify the moth to ignore lights. Maybe make it blind?

NealJune 4, 2007 6:36 PM

Interesting idea, but terribly flawed. You're planting chips in a living, growing, organism and hoping that everything still works as intended when the organism has reached maturity. It won't. Not by a long shot. Add to that the fact that moths are short lived and the windows for use would be small.

This would require huge moth farms where hundreds of moths were implanted daily. Of the hundreds that reached useful maturity daily you'd have to test each for full functionality - very few would pass. Of those few you'd have a few days to deliver them to the theater of operation, transport them within flying distance, and guide them in without losing them to accidents or predators.

Excellent concept for someone seeking to secure huge government grants. Poor one for results.

HawkinsJune 4, 2007 9:23 PM


Maybe you're right. But keep in mind that >170,000 different moth species have been named, and there is enormous variation.

Perhaps a long-lived (the Welsh Clearwing actually overwinters!), Borg-part-receptive species has been identified.

KristineJune 5, 2007 2:26 AM

So I just have to put a little lavender around me, and I am safe from surveillance? I like it!


P.S: A little bit like garlic in order to repel vampires; only this time it's against the ones out for my data, not out for my blood.

KristineJune 5, 2007 2:27 AM

So I just have to put a little lavender around me, and I am safe from surveillance? I like it!


P.S: A little bit like garlic in order to repel vampires; only this time it's against the ones out for my data, not out for my blood.

WooJune 5, 2007 8:09 AM

Cool tech but useless. Nice to see what's possible, but that's about it.

SamsonJune 5, 2007 8:10 AM

I think a better choice would be birds, perhaps hummingbirds since they can hover for short periods. They're long lived and can be implanted when mature, plus they fly faster and farther, and aren't as susceptible to strong breezes, winds, or predators. They can also carry larger sensor payloads.

Even better, should you stuff one's hiney with a small wireless mic and transmitter and remote control its pooper you can have it fly in, buzz over a target (window ledge or plant, vehicle, tent, head, hat), and drop a buggy bird turd.

TomJune 5, 2007 8:22 AM

While this might work to limited degree in a lab environment it's not likely to be of much use in most real world scenarios I think.

Moths live because they've learned to camoflage themselves, to hide, to only travel at certain hours. Release a moth under human control while trying to achieve a human objective then the loss rate is going to skyrocket because they'll almost assuredly have to ignore all these factors.

Moths don't travel that far at once either and anything other than ideal weather will further reduce that. You'd have to be practically on top of the target to use the moth (you pass the window, it flies up and in). That would be of limited utility.

How about cicadas?

RichJune 5, 2007 9:59 AM


Problem with hummingbirds is very very short flight time between refueling. They'll also have to implant pigeons carrying payloads of sugar water for the hummingbirds to feed at between sorties.

derfJune 5, 2007 10:19 AM

I'm struggling against my darpa installed controls to write this, but why stop at insects?

godzilla808June 5, 2007 10:46 AM

Moth-borgs? Morgs? CyMoths? Maybe DARPA should raise some extra money by selling their ideas to Hollywood! It is an interesting idea, though.

Clive RobinsonJune 5, 2007 11:36 AM

Back in the late 1980's I made the comment

"When Bill Gates requires me to have a five pin DIN connector in my head I'm going to retire"

It looks like I might be taking early retirment ;)

AlanJune 5, 2007 12:06 PM

The DARPA program is there to counter the Japanese Mothra program.

Next -- Flying Super-Turtles!

SteightonJune 5, 2007 1:36 PM

It reminds me of the 5th element where they used a cockroach in the same way... of course, it also brings to mind the result to the observer when the cockroach was sqaushed with a shoe ;)

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