From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]


The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is soliciting
research proposals in the area of Hybrid Insect MEMS. Proposed research
should investigate innovative approaches that enable revolutionary
advances in science, devices or systems. Specifically excluded is
research, which primarily results in evolutionary improvement upon
existing state-of-the-art.

DARPA seeks innovative proposals to develop technology to create
insect-cyborgs, possibly enabled by intimately integrating microsystems
within insects, during their early stages of metamorphoses. The healing
processes from one metamorphic stage to the next stage are expected to
yield more reliable bio-electromechanical interface to insects, as
compared to adhesively bonded systems to adult insects. Once these
platforms are integrated, various microsystem payloads can be mounted
on the platforms with the goal of controlling insect locomotion, sense
local environment, and scavenge power. Multidisciplinary teams of
engineers, physicists, and biologists are expected to work together to
develop new technologies utilizing insect biology, while developing
foundations for the new field of insect cyborg engineering. The HI-MEMS
may also serve as vehicles to conduct research to answer basic
questions in biology.

The final demonstration goal of the HI-MEMS program is the delivery of
an insect within five meters of a specific target located at hundred
meters away, using electronic remote control, and/or global positioning
system (GPS). Although flying insects are of great interest (e.g. moths
and dragonflies), hopping and swimming insects could also meet final
demonstration goals. In conjunction with delivery, the insect must
remain stationary either indefinitely or until otherwise instructed.
The insect-cyborg must also be able to transmit data from DOD relevant
sensors, yielding information about the local environment. These
sensors can include gas sensors, microphones, video, etc.

In order to successfully demonstrate the mission described above, it is
anticipated that effort in the following technical areas is required:

1. Demonstrate reliable bio-electromechanical interfaces to insects,
2. Demonstrate locomotion control using MEMS platforms, and
3. Demonstrate technologies to scavenge power from insects.

This announcement and the Proposer Information Pamphlet may be
retrieved at

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