Utility insects - ROM, 01/Apr/03

Combining a few ideas...

We saw a living rat that was under remote control on the news in 2002.

Would nanotech (or even microtech) sensibly allow something similar for those household pests like ants and cockroaches?

So, your network of controlled "utility insects" would avoid things like food containers, while cleaning floors of things like dropped food crumbs, or spills. Probably programmed to stay out of the way when people are around, and not leave droppings about.

Turning an irritation into a cleaning tool.

Possibly the control systems might also tap into the insect's senses?

Just a suggestion...


There are several ways to look at this, I think.

If you think of your home as an ecological niche, then you are trying to defend it from something else moving into it, i.e. scavenging insects. If the insects are working for you, then no others can move in.

Maybe 'your' insects bring in other insects for implanting?

("Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" [grin])

Or, if you set things up so 'your' insects have a edge over any others, other insects could be forced out or replaced, or even killed by yours.

In the case of ants, it might be sensible to find the nest, and put your implanter where all the worker ant eggs are laid, so that they get implanted on hatching.

Maybe you could put tiny transmitters on the queen ants as they fly away from the nest, maybe to found other nests, so as to track them?

Another approach might be that you "pay" your insects for their work, putting down some food so that only implanted insects can get at it, giving them an edge on the others?

I suppose this heads into a whole area of how nanotech integrates into an existing environment, and effects existing ecological niches...

Maybe it would be sensible to use microtech and nanotech to install the equivalent of tracking transmitters, that we use on animals and birds, in insects so that we can understand them, before we try and meddle with them too much?

(c) Rory O. McLean, 1980 - Feb. 2006
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