24 February 2012

A Brave New Age of Nano-Assassins On the Way?

Devised by engineers at Harvard, an ingenious method for rapid fabrication of micro-bots may herald in a brave new day for mass-produced micro assassins.
In prototypes, 18 layers of carbon fiber, Kapton, titanium, brass, ceramic, and adhesive sheets have been laminated together in a complex, laser-cut design. The structure incorporates flexible hinges that allow the three-dimensional product—just 2.4 millimeters tall—to assemble in one movement, like a pop-up book.

The entire product is approximately the size of a U.S. quarter, and dozens of these microrobots could be fabricated in parallel on a single sheet. _Physorg
An inexpensive approach to the mass-fabrication of assassin micro-bots would put such tools of social engineering within the reach of even the most impoverished household. These tiny devices of empowerment may soon find their way into discount stores in every town.
Sreetharan, Whitney, and their colleagues in the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory at SEAS have been working for years to build bio-inspired, bee-sized robots that can fly and behave autonomously as a colony. Appropriate materials, hardware, control systems, and fabrication techniques did not exist prior to the RoboBees project, so each must be invented, developed, and integrated by a diverse team of researchers. _Physorg
Thanks to the new mass-production techniques devised by Harvard engineers, millions of micro-assassin bots can be produced in one production run. Programming the bot for its specific mission requires only a few minutes, and can be performed over a wireless network, using appropriate security protocols.
Harvard engineers say that they will soon be able to reduce the size of the killer bots to the point that they are no longer visible via the naked eye. Of course, invisibility of a sort is already achievable using other stealth tools recently devised across town at MIT.

MIT and Harvard have reportedly allied themselves in a microbot assassin war against Yale and Stanford. But before risking it all in total micro-war, the engineers are rumoured to be testing their killer bots via covert operations in Iran and North Korea.
According to one of the lead engineers on the project, the bots are almost indistinguishable from an insect or arthropod. Some of the bots have been designed to mimic small minnows and worms.

There is some speculation that the minnow bots and worm bots are meant to work their way up through the fish food chain until they have taken over the brains of sharks and barracuda. These borg-controlled fast swimming fish can then be used to carry high explosives into enemy naval installations, for either coordinated or stand-alone attacks.

It is clear that the intrepid engineers of Harvard have taken the concept of stealth assassins to an entirely new level. Widespread vengeance and vigilantism have never been so easy! It will be interesting to watch and see how this concept develops.

All images via Concept Art

Adapted from an earlier article published on Al Fin Potpourri

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