Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Gigantic passenger butterfly

Copy insect brains to control aircraft
  (+10, -1)(+10, -1)
(+10, -1)
  [vote for,

The smallest flying insects are less than a millimetre in length, the largest living ones maybe have a wingspan of a couple of dozen centimetres. All of them have small brains, some of them presumably really, really small. Take these brains and analyse them, work out which bits vary due to the size of the insect and other aspects of its behaviour, then design an electronic brain which does the same, but with an artificial insect whose wingspan is many metres. Copy the anatomy to a considerable degree, varying the bits which control flight appropriately for size, so that you have what is effectively a passenger butterfly which flies around the world in search of nectar at airports designed like flowers to re- fuel, and helps grow new airports by pollinating them.
nineteenthly, Sep 05 2011

Robot dragonflies Sunflower_20canopy_20range_20extender
[hippo, Sep 05 2011]

Mead Organ http://local.yahoo....an-service-richmond
Not only do they exist - Mike services them. [MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 05 2011]

LEXX http://en.wikipedia...i/The_Lexx#The_Lexx
[DrBob, Sep 06 2011]

Molecular motor http://www.dailymai...INGLE-molecule.html
[rcarty, Sep 06 2011]


       //helps grow new airports by pollinating them//   

       [+] for this bit alone!
Wrongfellow, Sep 05 2011

       + only if it looked like a giant butterfly, too!
xandram, Sep 05 2011

       Oh yes, it would most definitely look like a giant butterfly, [xandram], no worries there.
nineteenthly, Sep 05 2011

       I think the issue wouldn't be the control of the "insect" but the construction of such a thing. I don't know that we can use building materials that would allow artificial insects to fly at such large scales. I mean how would you power the huge wings?
Eubalaena, Sep 05 2011

       Hmmm, I would imagine at some point one butterfly will be feeling amorous toward it's neighbor butterfly and doing a little impromptu pollinating of its own. [+]
Grogster, Sep 05 2011

       You know how if you touch butterfly wings, ever so lightly, the poor thing takes a nose dive. Is this vehicle safe I ponder?
blissmiss, Sep 05 2011

       Cans of flyspray the size of skyscrapers?   

       [+] for insects
pocmloc, Sep 05 2011

       [+], but I'm pretty sure that butterfly bodies move up and down a lot as they fly, so you'll have a lot of sick passengers.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 05 2011

       You could use the offspring as trains.
nineteenthly, Sep 05 2011

       Moths would be Militia Style.
blissmiss, Sep 05 2011

       I thought Airbus were already doing this? Are you planning on laying lots of "eggs" because not all A330, errr, butterflies, are required to fly to keep the airline, errr, species alive...
4whom, Sep 05 2011

       My thought is that in all things, actually hold on, i've had a vision!
nineteenthly, Sep 05 2011

       That's your computer monitor.   

       //The smallest flying insects are less than a millimetre in length, the largest living ones//   

       Do we share a similar notion that the smallest ones arn't really living?   

       Really enjoyed this style of idea by the way.
rcarty, Sep 05 2011

       Not viable if they are totally based on existing biology. Clearly this would not be the case here because real butterflies have no passenger seats or cabin doors. Nevertheless, i'm open to the idea that spiracles and pipes carrying air could be a useful way of making fuel combustion more efficient. Lots of little engines like mitochondria.
nineteenthly, Sep 06 2011

       Giant butterflies are impossible in principle (scaling laws). Micro-miniature passengers, on the other hand, is merely difficult.
mouseposture, Sep 06 2011

       Largest fossilized insects had wingspans of a few feet...
ye_river_xiv, Sep 06 2011

       //Largest fossilized insects had wingspans of a few feet...//   

       And thus the real reason the dinosaurs died out. Sheer annoyance by giant houseflies.
RayfordSteele, Sep 06 2011

       There are things which could be scaled up. I think the Carboniferous "dragonflies" were flying through an atmosphere much higher in oxygen than today, hence the size - they were able to rely more on the diffusion of respiratory gases and therefore the spiracles could be further apart. Ignoring the need to respire, because to an extent it can be provided there is just a sort of frame which can flap its wings, i think the upper size limit would be a lot higher, particularly if different materials were used. Flying insects and birds overlap in size considerably but solve the same problem in different ways. I believe this is viable.
nineteenthly, Sep 06 2011

       // Micro-miniature passengers, on the other hand, is merely difficult. //   

       Even now, researchers at Ryan Air are working hard on that particular problem ...
8th of 7, Sep 06 2011

       Was just reading about really small electric motors [link].
rcarty, Sep 06 2011


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