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Insects Armed with Tiny Cameras to Help in Disaster Recovery Missions

Researchers are looking for ways to equip small insects with cameras and microphones to help in search and rescue operations.

According to an article on the Telegraph, the insects will be highly useful in locating victims of an earthquake or tsunami trapped beneath rubble.

Professor Khalil Najafi, one of the researchers working on the project, explained that the equipment mounted on the insects' backs will be powered by the kinetic energy generated by the flapping of their wings.

"Through energy scavenging, we could potentially power cameras, microphones and other sensors and communication equipment that an insect could carry aboard a tiny backpack. We could send these ‘bugged' bugs into dangerous or enclosed environments where we would not want humans to go," he explained.

The project has been undertaken by a team of researchers at the University of Michigan in the United States and is being funded by US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The team plans to test the first prototype on a flying beetle some time next year. Researchers have already developed prototype equipment powered by the wing motion of a Green June beetle.