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Bio Engineered Spy Fly

Bio-engineer a spy fly which has built in mp3 recorder
  [vote for,

It might be possible to engineer a fly with a built in mp3 recorder, which can record a sound track for its entire life (2- 3 days). Release said fly by the millions into enemy territory and collect them when they die for playback. This is data acquisition on a massive scale.
ddn3, Jul 11 2010

Cyborged insects http://www.computer...army_of_cyborg_bugs
Dateline March 15, 2006 [mouseposture, Jul 11 2010]

Roach cam Roach_20Cam
Check out the link posted by DrCurry. [DrBob, Jul 12 2010]

Early prototypes http://meredith007....mouse-human-ear.jpg
With a pair of these, it will be able to fly as well. [MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 13 2010]


       //It might be possible to engineer a fly with a built in mp3 recorder//   

       Or, on the other hand, it might not.   

       Once again, the word "How?" rears it's ugly head.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 11 2010

       “OK, let’s hear the incriminating evidence, agent Beelzebub”
<clicks <play>>
“zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...”
pocmloc, Jul 11 2010

       [MB] I think there's even more elided technical detail hiding under //collect them//. But see <link>.
mouseposture, Jul 11 2010

       Obviously, they operate in pairs, and when one dies, the partner carries it back to HQ. (a) and (b) solved.
swimswim, Jul 12 2010

       //Not if they have the same lifespan.// They could have the same lifespan if one partner is younger than the other. One old, experienced, cynical, "doesn't follow the rules" partner, and one fresh, idealistic "fresh out of the cyborg insect academey" partner -- just like in the movies.
mouseposture, Jul 12 2010

       Engineer the flys to be attracted to a pheromone, to draw them back to a collection spot after release. I think a flys genome might contain enough space to hold maybe a few days worth of a mp3 recording, we could engineer them to pass on the parents recording to the next generation to prevent data loss. The next generation has no record functionality, they just replicate the parents data.
ddn3, Jul 12 2010

       why real flies?
po, Jul 12 2010

       direction problems?
po, Jul 12 2010

       I spy with my little fly..... welcome to the halfbakery [ddn3] - you appear to be "new".   

       This is not a new idea, and it will therefore attract negativity.
xenzag, Jul 12 2010

       It's not really a feasible idea either - or even unfeasible in an interesting or amusing way - so it will attract even more negativity.
hippo, Jul 12 2010

       // a flys [sic] genome might contain enough space to hold maybe a few days worth of a mp3 recording,//   

       Yes, but now you're wanting to develop some way for a fly to convert sound into a DNA sequence (easy computationally; difficult biologically) and then incorporate this sequence into its genome.   

       Plan B: develop chewing-gum which can record sound. Drop packs of gum over enemy territory. Eventually the gum will be chewed and then dropped. Then develop a breed of cat with especially hairy feet. Train cats to walk through enemy territory, picking up the gum on their hairy feet, then herd them into a data-collection centre where they walk through a trough of chewing-gum solvent.   

       Plan C: we start with a simple aardvaark....
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 12 2010

       What gets me about this, or one of the things for there are several, is the MP3 bit. Does that not mean there needs to be some kind of trig function calculation going on? Could there maybe be some kind of lookup table in DNA form? Would it not be easier to use just a tiny piggyback computer to do all this?   

       Incidentally, i am very enthusiastic about this idea, not because i think it'll work but because it has so many obstacles to working. It's like using backwards capacitors to travel in time.   

       And again incidentally, whereas i was thinking of Drosophila, houseflies have different lifespans according to their sex. One sex lives seventeen days and the other twenty-nine here in England, if i remember rightly.
nineteenthly, Jul 12 2010

       I'm just so curious how someone joins the hb 8 years ago and then finally decided to post an idea? anyway- hello there [ddn3]!!
xandram, Jul 12 2010

       I joined years ago but just recently found this site again. I was searching for information on fly wheel batteries and this site popped up. I found my old account and just decided to post some ideas floating in my head.   

       I think mircoengineering millions of mp3 recorders and then implanting them into flies is harder than genetically engineering them to be mp3 recorders form the get go. It is quite possible to attach artificial chromosomes onto existing creatures genomes have have those carry on to the next generation. The hard part of converting digital information into an arbitrary length of DNA might be problematic, but truthfully I think we can use another information carrier molecule for artificial life forms than DNA. Is it far out there? Probably not, i suspect artificial life to be possible in 1-2 years and then things will move very quickly after that.   

       As for programming the mp3 recorder using just bio-molecules, were almost to that point where we can do translation of digital operations -> bio-molecular operations.
ddn3, Jul 13 2010

       The thing is, if I were going to try this, I'd probably start with a species that has ears. Hence the aardvark. It's probably easier to get and aardvark to fly than it would be to get a flay to do ard vark.   

       Alternatively, see link.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 13 2010

       Drosophila apparently live for a month as adults. I think this estimate is too low, though it could be that that's in captivity and predation and the like usually kill them earlier. Then again, if they are predated, there would seem to be a problem retrieving the information. Mayflies, on the other hand, live about five hours as adults, but again get eaten a lot. In fact everything gets eaten a lot or decomposes, which is almost the same.   

       But, is MP3 a suitable format? What about using the flies' memories?   

       I have to say that i'm having serious difficulty accepting that biological computers can be made with the same specifications as digital hardware and more easily.
nineteenthly, Jul 13 2010

       Actually, I have a feeling they skip the eating bit.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 13 2010

       goodness, the best bit!
po, Jul 13 2010

       //is MP3 a suitable format?//   

       Only if you can compress on the fly.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 13 2010

       // a hastily published “Not The Nine O’Clock News” book,//   

       Ooh! Was that the sort of A4-sized soft-cover Christmas rip- off edition? For some reason, Ghryff Rhees-Jhones himself was in a special booth at a London train station selling and signing copies of it one Christmas ages ago. I bought a copy, and he asked me what to write in the dedication. I said I thought he was supposed to be the creative one.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 13 2010

       As it happens, that very book should be within reach as i type but someone's moved it.   

       Mayflies are a good example of why anthropomorphism doesn't work. If a human being threw themselves into the river and started to drown, you'd probably think it would be good to rescue them. If a mayfly did the same, it would make its whole life pointless.
nineteenthly, Jul 13 2010

       I believe flies have ears or ear like structures, as most insects do. I wouldn't use a large animal because they are not "disposable" as insects are. Raising 1 million aardvarks for an infiltration mission is not feasible, but raising 1 million genetically engineered flies is a snap, all u need is a fridge size container and some spoiled food.   

       Well the idea was also to meant to raise the question about the possibilities of biological engineered machines, which is coming i believe very soon.
ddn3, Jul 13 2010

       // Raising 1 million aardvarks for an infiltration mission is not feasible,//   

       I dispute this. Given a modest investment into research on aardvark breeding, I see no reason why they should be more difficult to breed than, say, dogs or humans. Looking to modern intensive farming methods for inspiration, I think it ought to be possible to run several hundred head of aardvark on a ten acre plot (or "dijkveldt", as the breeding ground of an aardvark is known). Based on figures for raising pigs and sheep, I think the cost could be brought down to maybe $10 per adult 'vark, or $10,000,000 in total to raise the necessary megaardvark platoon (or "weeklujke", as a collection of aardvarks is known). This is well within military budgets.   

       There is also a precedent for mass aardvarkiculture. In the 1970's, the Soviet Union attempted to breed large numbers of these creatures to release into some of the more southerly parts of their territory (Uzbekhistan, Turkmenistan and Kannunastan). The theory was that these animals - who are prodigious diggers - would help to break up the wind-panned topsoil of these regions, reducing rain runoff and producing a more fertile environment for agriculture. (As a bonus, it turns out that ardvaark droppings, or "spjoore", are extremely rich in both iron and silicates, two components which are in limited supply in these regions.)   

       A weeklujke of over 30,000 ardvaarks (three males to each female, since this is the ratio in which they breed) was raised on four massive collective farms in the southern USSR, and released along the border between Uzbekhistan and Turkmenistan. Five years later, there had been quite considerable improvement in soil turnover and structure (and, allegedly, a reduction in runoff-related flooding in the area). However, the original population diminished rather than increased, and the animals did not spread out more than a few kilometres from their release site. Attempts at air-dropping aardvarks in pairs over wider areas failed, because of the female aardvark's ability to reflexively evert her ovaries in response to a perceived threat or unexpected shock (such as being dropped out of a Kamov Ka-27 from 2000 feet).   

       Nevertheless, it's clear that aardvark breeding on a large scale is feasible.   

       Moreover, it is considerably easier to locate and retrieve an aardvark than it is a housefly, particularly in situations where aardvarks are not indigenous, ensuring that most recovered aardvarks are likely to be your own.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 13 2010

       Aardvarks are totally unsuitable for military application because aardvark never killed anybody.
mouseposture, Jul 14 2010

       //aardvarks never killed anybody// they don't get caught you mean
FlyingToaster, Jul 14 2010


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