Thinking about the broader impacts of an “army of cyborg insects” is probably worth doing…and not just because of NSF funding criteria. There’s some pretty wild hubris in the BBC article below – most likely a mix of sensationalistic journalism and engineers trying to attract more funding:
Efforts to create an army of cyborg insects are being pursued by a team of US-based engineers.
The group is investigating ways to harvest energy from the creatures to power sensors and other equipment fastened to their bodies.
The team has created an energy scavenging device that is attached close to the insects’ wings.
The researchers suggested that the devices could eventually become the power source for a race of remote controlled cyborg insects with neural electrodes implants, communications equipment, microphones and other sensors.
The team suggested the creatures could wear the equipment in tiny “backpacks”.
The animals could then be released into dangerous or hard-to-access locations after an accident has occurred. The information they gathered could be beamed back to the emergency services to help prepare a response.
They said the creatures could usher in “a new era for search-and-rescue operations, surveillance, monitoring of hazardous substances, and detection of explosives”.