Lasers can already track and hopefully shoot down missiles, so perhaps it was inevitable that humans would turn that power against the airborne bloodsucker threat. Scientists from the Intellectual Ventures Laboratory showed their lasers tracking mosquitoes live during the TED 2010 conference, and also unveiled the awesome laser pew-pew effect in a new video. See the smoking hot results for yourself.
Bark beetles plague the forests of Canada so furiously you'd think rivers of blood and the death of the firstborn would follow hot on their heels. So far, no one has stopped the beetle rampage that has destroyed 33 million acres of trees in British Columbia. However, scientists at Northern Arizona University (NAU) may have devised a way to turn back the beetle tide using sound recordings.
Bees need not recognize human faces when going about their pollination business. Yet scientists have now found that they can train bees to recognize the arrangement of human facial features, by rewarding the classy striped insects with sugar. That could inspire new facial recognition systems, given that bees manage this feat with brains the size of a microdot.
A day of reckoning has come for destructive crop pests, in the form of vicious voodoo wasps that can convert hapless insects into zombies. Scientists have cracked the genome code for three species of the parasitic wasp, in hopes of deploying them against pests that destroy billions of tons of crops per year, The Independent reports.
Teamwork among honeybees keeps a hive running smoothly. Worker bees collect pollen, nurse bees care for larvae, and male drones spread the colony's genes. Each insect's efforts ensure the colony's success. That strategy led Gu-Yeon Wei to suggest that Rob Wood morph an almond-size robotic fly he had developed into a fleet of autonomous bees, each capable of carrying out specialized tasks. Perhaps, they speculated, the "RoboBees" could supplement the pollinating duties of bees stricken by a mysterious affliction that's killed 36 percent of America's 2.4 million hives.
When you write for Popular Science, it's easy to become desensitized to wild and crazy future tech. To wit: When I first heard that Darpa wanted to develop cyborg insects to carry surveillance equipment, I thought "ok, cyborg insect spies are pretty cool, but not blowing me away."
Then today, Cornell researchers working on the program unveiled a prototype transmitter for the cyborg bugs that runs on radioactive isotopes. Nuclear powered cyborg insect spies? Ok, now you have my attention.
A new coating turns insects' sticky climbing feet into a slippery mess, and could be the future of pest repellent, according to a new research paper. You hear that, bugs? If you can't crawl up my kitchen counter from the floor, you can't go waving your disgusting antennae all over my pizza, you insects-who-shall-not-be-named of apartment horror.
In January, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, told a stunned conference audience that they had managed to create a remote-controlled cyborg beetle by attaching a computer chip to the brain of a giant insect. Now, the paper explaining how they did it has been published in the journal Frontiers In Neuroscience, and they have released a video of the cyber-bug in action.
What do you do when you're under attack? Call for help, naturally. Unfortunately, if you're an ear of corn, and you're being attacked by parasitic beetle larvae, you have nothing to call for help with. Until now.
Scientists at the University of Missouri have genetically modified corn to release a chemical distress signal when under attack from beetle larvae. The chemical 911 call attracts droves of parastitic roundworms that naturally attack the larvae. Within three days of receiving the distress signal, the worms had killed them all.
Flies may not seem like nature's ace pilots when they're bumping up against a closed window or getting squashed beneath a rolled-up copy of the New York Times Magazine, but a German company hopes to unravel the secrets of insect flight by tapping their brains. Literally.