Dragonflies or Little Spies? / Scientists work on robot bugs that could gather intelligence

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Weiss, Rick. "Dragonflies or Little Spies? / Scientists work on robot bugs that could gather intelligence." The Washington Post Weekly Edition 15-21 October 2007: 34.

Notes early on that dragonflies are "an ancient order of insects that even biologists concede look about as robotic as a living creature can look," and moves from there to real-world developments toward, if they have not already achieved, remote-controlled flying craft the size and general construction of insects. DARPA (the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and other "U.S. government and private entities acknowledge that they are trying" to deploy "insect-size spy drones"; approaches include "inserting computer chips into moth pupae […] and hatching them into healthy 'cyborg moths'"; the goal of this "Hybrid Insect Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems project" is "to create […] camera-toting insects whose nerves have grown into their internal silicon chip so that wranglers can control their activities." Cf. blurring of organic/mechanical distinction in a general human view of insects and related genera—with dragonflies as just a particularly strong example—and very particularly in SF from H. R. Giger's Alien in Ridley Scott's ALIEN (film) to the crab-like robots in RUNAWAY (q.v. under Drama) to the evil-spirit-powered "clockwork spyfly" in Philip Pulman's SF-inflected fantasy, The Golden Compass (1995; film version, 2007).

RDE, 20/X/07; RDE, Title, 29Aug19