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Bionic Bugs To Fight Terrorists 417

dptalia writes "Israel is looking to create a small robot, no larger than a hornet to follow, film, and kill terrorists. It's just one of a series of weapons the country is considering as an alternative to conventional technologies. Other ideas floating around include gloves that would give their user 'bionic strength', and ultra-miniaturized sensors to detect explosives on suicide bombers." From the article: "The research integrates nanotechnology into Israel's security department and will find creative solutions to problems the army has been unable to address, Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres told Yedioth Ahronoth. 'The war in Lebanon proved that we need smaller weaponry. It's illogical to send a plane worth $100 million against a suicidal terrorist. So we are building futuristic weapons,' Peres said."
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Bionic Bugs To Fight Terrorists

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  • gah (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 17, 2006 @11:56AM (#16885926)
    All, excelent, in a decade we will have cylons. Anything for freedom!
    • Cowardly (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FathomIT ( 464334 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @12:02PM (#16886036)
      It's very unfortunate. It will not be only for terrorists. We will soon have "terrorists" and our political and business leaders simply picked off by a small, unseen remote controlled insect carrying a poison payload.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Exactly. Governments use the excuse the topic du jour to justify advances in illegal monitoring, secret arrest, indefinite detention and torture. The means created today for the military will be applied to the general population tomorrow.
      • Re:Cowardly (Score:5, Insightful)

        by chriso11 ( 254041 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @12:16PM (#16886276) Journal
        I agree. This is extremely disruptive, and very easy to abuse. Not to sound like some utopian, but it is really sad that we use so much of our technology to develop 'better' ways to kill one another.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by superwiz ( 655733 )
          All major pushes in technology came out of warfare. "Research" almost never yields as much as necessity (I know, I know... there are exceptions... not statement is 100 absolute excluding this one). World War II gave us neuclear energy, radars, computers, jet engines, etc. This bionic weapons will most likely lead to advances in both communications and medicine. And on a gaussian distribution of normal to fucked up you'll always end up with fucked up individuals in a society. Being able to fight them ef
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Grishnakh ( 216268 )
            Actually, radar was invented by Tesla before WWII, but it was pretty much ignored. The computer was invented by Charles Babbage in the 1800s, though it was rather different from those of the 1900s.
            • It is my understanding that Babbage never had a working model. He also never developed theoretical underpinning. Electrical computers didn't really exist until WWII and I will not insult the intelligence of a slashdot reader by lecturing them on Turing.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by giorgiofr ( 887762 )
                I feel like nitpicking... so bear with me for a second: you would be insulting his knowledge/education, but not his intelligence. MANY clever people have no idea who Turing was and why he was so important. Just like I have no idea who the first guy was who thought about brain surgery.
                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by Malakusen ( 961638 )
                  Yeah, I only know about Turing because I'm a dedicated Virtual Adept player.
                  Fight the Technocracy!
    • but on the plus side, these new Cylons won't kill Friday 6pm to Saturday 6pm and some other holidays.
  • Hmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by Kagura ( 843695 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @11:57AM (#16885958)
    'The war in Lebanon proved that we need smaller weaponry. It's illogical to send a plane worth $100 million against a suicidal terrorist.'

    Maybe it's just me, but that sentence makes it sound like we're running terrorists over with our jets. Teehee
    • by Da Fokka ( 94074 )

      Maybe it's just me, but that sentence makes it sound like we're running terrorists over with our jets. Teehee


      No, Israel is just bombing the neighbourhood where the were last seen. Just as efficient and just as effective.

      • >Just as efficient

        Efficiency is a ratio. I'm guessing you're not putting "total number of people killed" in the denominator?

        • by Da Fokka ( 94074 )
          Sorry, I must have forgotten the [/sarcasm] tag.
  • by Salvance ( 1014001 ) * on Friday November 17, 2006 @11:59AM (#16885982) Homepage Journal
    We've been hearing about this type of thing in science fiction books, then movies, and then in magazines like Popular Science for at least the past 20 years. While I think we probably have the technology to create the hornets, I seriously doubt we have the technology to have them fly very far then deliver some type of lethal force (e.g. poison) to a specific target.

    Plus, it's reasonable to assume that $100's of millions would need to be invested in such a "nanohornet" for it to be feasible. Heck, the current world's smallest flying robot [gizmodo.com] is massive compared to a bee, and can only fly a few minutes (yes, this link is from 2003, and the the robot is still considered the smallest working prototype of a flying robot).

    In my opinion, the israelis need to invest in far better armor and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. During their conflict with Hezbollah, the UAVs were a huge success [tmcnet.com]. Also, wouldn't highly armored robotic vehicles be better than a hornet? For example, maybe an armored ball (kind of like those hamster balls) that would essentially be indestructable and roll around doing reconaiscence and shooting things. Just a thought.
    • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @12:21PM (#16886352) Homepage
      In my opinion, the israelis need to invest in far better armor and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. During their conflict with Hezbollah, the UAVs were a huge success. Also, wouldn't highly armored robotic vehicles be better than a hornet? For example, maybe an armored ball (kind of like those hamster balls) that would essentially be indestructable and roll around doing reconaiscence and shooting things. Just a thought.

      Well you're right the UAVs worked great, and you're right that they need far better armor if they want to continue using armor. The RPG-29s and guided missles used by Hezbollah did a number on the IDF's Merkava MBTs, considered one of if not the most heavily armored tanks in service. Between those relatively cheap shoulder-fired infantry weapons, and the shaped-charge mines Hezbollah had sprinkled throughout their territory, it was demonstrated pretty conclusively that today's armor isn't standing up to even the guerilla weapons. More armor is needed, though I'm not sure that's the right tack to take.

      First, tanks aren't that great in the kinds of environments we're talking about: hilly terrain with valleys and choke points that can be littered with mines and give attackers on the ridges an ideal firing line to hit the tank's weak point, and cities and villages that have basically the same properties. A slow moving tank with an enemy on high ground is vulnerable.

      Second, there is no such thing as "essentially indestructable". In the ages-old battle between weapons and armor, weapons always win eventually. There have been times that armor would have a brief period of success, but then the weapons would advance one generation and the armor would fall behind. This is just the nature of the beast: it's easier to destroy than to resist destruction. It's easier to focus a large amount of energy on a small area, whether the tip of an arrow fired from a longbow or the shaped-charge explosive of an RPG, than it is to build a material that can resist that energy, whether steel armor or the advanced composites used in MBTs. Reactive armor was designed to defeat the shaped charge rockets, so the rocket designers responded by simply adding a smaller charge ahead of the main one to defeat the reactive armor so the big charge can hit the main armor with full force. Just as the cannon signalled the end of the castle, the RPG-29 and ilk are signalling the end of MBT armor.

      Not that tanks aren't useful and further armor developments serve no purpose, it's just that you aren't going to get much of a lead even over non-state-militaries like Hezbollah. An autonomous tank would be nice because when it gets destroyed you haven't lost a tank crew as well. Plus you could design it to be more robust than a manned tank (where breaching into the crew compartment is basically all you need to do). But it isn't going to be an indestructable ball of death, that is for sure.
      • I was thinking to myself the other day of the same thing...

        If you make a tank automous or at least remote controlled, then you don't really have worry about protecting the crew anymore. Hence you can replace the saved weight with something devoted to firepower, fuel, and speed.

        In fact, why not make the tank cost $500,000 rather than $10 to $25 million and make a whole slew of them with mass production

        Sure an RPG could kill it with one hit, but a well placed mine or RPG could immobilize the best armored tank
      • >considered one of if not the most heavily armored tanks in service.

        They used russian-made/sold Kornets. I dont think theres any armor out there that can withstand a hit from those. Armor's not the problem its tactics.
        • They used russian-made/sold Kornets. I dont think theres any armor out there that can withstand a hit from those. Armor's not the problem its tactics.

          You got that right. Tanks just don't mesh well with effective anti-guerilla tactics.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by stvip ( 842791 )
        The Merkava Mk. 4 is often cited as the best armored tank in the world, though I'm not sure that is accurate. It is the tank offering best survival for the crew within, however. This has been achieved by various intentional design decisions, such as placing the engine in the front of the crew compartment as extra armor, and having rear exits for evacuating soldiers, as well as some tanks serving as heavily armored ambulances, with special space reserved for emergency medical treatment. Anyhow, as for the
    • "In my opinion, the israelis need to invest in far better armor and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles."

      In my opinion israel needs to invest in finding ways to get along with it's neighbors and stop it's occupation of 3.5 million people.

      If I was hated by my neighnors (and lets face it disliked by most of the rest of the world) then I might ask myself why and see I could maybe change one or two things to see if I could get along better.

      It would be cheaper too and as an american who funds the majority if not all of the
  • So ... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Friday November 17, 2006 @11:59AM (#16885986) Homepage Journal
    ... what's Hebrew for "Skynet"?
  • Just gloves? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dr. Eggman ( 932300 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @12:00PM (#16886004)
    What kind of bionic strength would gloves give? A bone crushing grip? You lift with your whole arm, not just your hands.
    • You lift with your whole arm, not just your hands.

      And your back, and your legs....

      Even as a kid, I thought The Six Million Dollar Man [wikipedia.org] was bogus. Think about it: Steve Austin grabs the bumper of a car, hoists....and telescopes his spinal column into 6 inches of splintered bone and splatted spinal nerve fibers.

    • Well, Peretz is the first Israeli defense minister with no real army experience. He was never even an officer. He is army's worst boss. Think of an MBA boss without the MBA but with complete backing of his boss. A boss that says the kind of nonsense like "I don't know what engineers, but I know they can do it better and faster". And this is your picture of Peretz. He used to a union leader. He only got a defense minister position as a political power share. It doesn't mean that the actual Israeli re
    • What kind of bionic strength would gloves give? A bone crushing grip? You lift with your whole arm, not just your hands.

      True. However --

      I assume that gloves are much, much cheaper to develop and build than full-arm augmentation. (For full-arm augmentation, you really need full-body reinforcement -- upper body augementation to support the arm, augmented lower body to support the upper body.)

      Crushing grip alone can be very useful. Close-quarters action -- break a man's bones. Useful for black-bag s
  • by Tmack ( 593755 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @12:01PM (#16886016) Homepage Journal
    ...a small robot, no larger than a hornet to follow, film, and kill terrorists.

    Sounds like the flying robotic syringes in Dune, they silently fly around to find their target, then fly directly into them and inject some sort of fast acting poison (the spice?).

    tm

    • by WillAdams ( 45638 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @12:04PM (#16886084) Homepage
      In the original _Dune_, the young Paul Atreides is threatened by a ``Hunter Killer'', a small, repulsor-driven device directed by remote control which would ``burrow through his flesh'' if it managed to successfully attack him. (He grabs it when it attacks the housekeeper, the ``Shadout Mapes'' who is sent to summon him and smashes its nose against the wall).

      William
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by chgros ( 690878 )
        Nitpick:
        It's a hunter-seeker, not a hunter-killer
  • Building a miniature flying robot with cameras and transmission ability is well within current technology's reach. Stuffing in a battery with enough power to make the thing even vaguely useful is not. So what do they intend to power this with?
  • Greeeat. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @12:03PM (#16886060) Homepage Journal
    As if the world's oppressed peoples didn't have enough to deal with, now they've got to look over their shoulders for paparazzi hornet-bots and Lee Majors in a Nintendo Power Glove as well? What next, motherfXckin' snakes?
  • Who thought up "bionic hornet"? Seriously, it sounds like the perfect title for a cheap B-movie. How about, "Bionic Hornet 2:The Spawning"?
  • What really bugs me: What if these killer bugs have bugs?
  • by styryx ( 952942 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @12:10PM (#16886164)
    Yes, what a fantastic plan... that is until the terrorists invent rolled-up newspaper! Then whatcha gonna do?

    FFFFFFFFFFACE!!
  • ( ) Old fashioned terrorist. ( ) Small, hard to detect, killer robot hacked by a terrorist.
  • by schnooka_boy ( 1023007 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @12:12PM (#16886192)
    As a staunch Israeli supporter, this really frustrates me. Yes, it will reduce civilian casualties. Yes, it will be able to destroy missle launchers without having to go in and do any fighting. Yes, it will render the Hamas tactic of hiding amongst their own people useless. But no, there's no way you're going to establish trust with a people when you have killer robotic hornets flying around their homes.
    • Trust? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by krell ( 896769 )
      "But no, there's no way you're going to establish trust with a people when you have killer robotic hornets flying around their homes"

      What trust? With the Hamas vote, already half of the Palestinians indicate that they want the Israelis exterminated.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      As a staunch supporter of peace in Palestine, I have to ask, what makes you think the Israeli governments want to establish trust with the Palestinians?

      It has been Israeli national strategy for decades to wish for the Palestinians simply to disappear if they are suitably squeezed. The Israelis are caught between their desire to get rid of the Palestinians and their need to preserve their souls. So in the absense of a really big-time terror attack, the Israelis can't bring themselves to commit another full-s
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        If Israel really wanted to commit genocide in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, I don't understand why they'd be wasting their time and own people performing targetting operations when they could just as easily send in bombs to take out the entire region. Israel's doing an equally bad job "squeezing out" Arabs if they're withdrawing from the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon (may I note, that in both these cases the withdrawal was used to send missles into Israel).

        So far Israel hasn't been moved by the hum
  • Great inventions! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Roadmaster ( 96317 ) <roadmr@nOsPam.tomechangosubanana.com> on Friday November 17, 2006 @12:12PM (#16886194) Homepage Journal
    If only they were this creative and imaginative when sitting down to try to solve a conflict peacefully. This goes for both sides, and it applies in most conflicts.

    Remember, no matter how intelligent the weapons inventors are, it's still violence; and "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent".
    • by qbzzt ( 11136 )
      If only they were this creative and imaginative when sitting down to try to solve a conflict peacefully. This goes for both sides, and it applies in most conflicts.

      Technologies are developed by scientists and engineers. Creativity and imagination and core requirements for the job.

      Peaceful solutions are developed by politicians and diplomats. Core job requirements include charisma and the ability to get people to do things. Creativity and imagination are not required, and may even be liabilities.

      Therefore, e
    • If only they were this creative and imaginative when sitting down to try to solve a conflict peacefully.

      Consider this... Without Nazi Germany's V2 rocket program and World War 2, we wouldn't have gone to the moon or at least as soon as we did.

      I'm not saying that war in itself is good or that we can't progress without it, but thats historically what happens.
  • by creimer ( 824291 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @12:13PM (#16886220) Homepage
    Wouldn't it be easier to call on God to deliver a plague of locusts? Worked for Moses.
    • It would be easier but for some reason, ever since people started to tinker with "science" God seemed to have disappeared and stopped doing the amazing and unexplainable things he once did. Either that, or the Jews pissed him off so much they are no longer his "chosen" perhaps? Or just MAYBE there's no God.

      But if there is a God, why does God hate amputees? God heals all other wounds and diseases. Why not amputees?
  • by tocs ( 866673 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @12:14PM (#16886230)
    Bullets ARE about the size of a hornet and already follow and kill people.
    If the bullet was following someone cleaver enough to move out of the way, it is very very cheap to send another.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @12:15PM (#16886242) Homepage
    ...SHEIKS with frikken laserbeams attached to their heads!
  • Plan B (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Flying pig ( 925874 )
    It's worth remembering that when Israel started, the then King of Jordan thought it was a good thing because it could kick start the modernisation of the Middle East. Israel began in exactly the sort of moderate level factional war that is now taking place in Iraq, and one interpretation of history is that the founders of Israel behaved in such a way as to alienate the Jordanians because, even then, their ultimate goal was not peace and stability but expansionism and hegemony (another interpretation is that
    • by krell ( 896769 )
      "their ultimate goal was not peace and stability but expansionism and hegemony"

      Was this lifted from one of the Iranian president's speeches? As for the bogus "hegemony", look at what happened in the Sinai. Egypt recognized the Israeli's right to exist and called off the war. As a result, the legitimate reason for Israel to occupy the Sinai was removed, and Israel left. Now look at the West Bank and Gaza. The Palestinian government has an official policy of extermination of the Israelis (along with invasi
  • by ettlz ( 639203 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @12:22PM (#16886366) Journal
    Nice to see the Israeli military get some of their best ideas from an eleven-year-old TV show [bugs.co.uk].
  • Well, I guess it's time to design my line of powerful electromagnetic door and window frames!

    Lets see you film me when I flashfry your memory, stupid bug!

    Oh, new tin-foil hat... randomly swipe a powerful magnet over any bug you see!
  • Am I the only one who finds it laughable that nowadays practially every new piece of military tech these days is about fighting 'terrorists'? This technology could, of course, be used on people who are not terrorists, and it probably will be if it goes into production. This includes legitimate uses such as actual combat against soldiers who are not terrorists. Believe me, those do still exist. Even outside the US.

    Of course, the flip side of the coin is the ongoing effort to redefine everyone the US is abou

    • Oops - seems I jumped the gun there. It's Israel that's developing this. That said, I think my criticism still stands. Israel is very closely related to the US in many respects, including the tendency to pump money into the development of high-tech weaponry with dubious justifications.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

      Am I the only one who finds it laughable that nowadays practially every new piece of military tech these days is about fighting 'terrorists'?

      New boss, same as the old boss. Before terrorists it was drugs. Before drugs it was communism. Before communism it was blacks and mexicans. Back in england it was papists or protestants depending on who was on the throne at the time, and it was also the spanish, the dutch, and the french at different times. The more things change, yada yada.

    • Am I the only one who finds it laughable that nowadays practially every new piece of military tech these days is about fighting 'terrorists'?"

      Yep, you are the only one. The rest of us are too scared to laugh.
  • If technology begins to mimic biology more and more, does the line between conventional warfare and biological warfare start to become blurred?
    • Humans have used animals in warfare for thousands of years. What do you think cavalry are? The use of an animal, or something resembling an animal is not what's referred to as "biological warfare".

      Biological warfare refers to using viruses, bacteria, and other infectious agents. What people call "biological warfare" is really germ warfare. There's a distinct natural line of using replicating biological agents that needs to be crossed for this to turn into germ warefare. Since these are simply just robo
      • by hey! ( 33014 )
        Yes, but I'm not talking about draught animals or war dogs. I'm extrapolating this technology another generation where size and ubiquity make the system components look more like infectious agents. If a robot hornet, why not a robot endoparasite?

        Granted there is a self-replication aspect to biological warfare; however we generally class biological agents with chemical agents. What if you were to deploy a vast number of robot hornets who could deliver fatal "stings". How would this be better than a gas
  • Welcome... (Score:3, Informative)

    by inviolet ( 797804 ) <slashdot AT ideasmatter DOT org> on Friday November 17, 2006 @12:41PM (#16886702) Journal

    ...to the Diamond Age.

    For further reading and insightful predictions about the sociological effects of nanotech, see Mr. Neal Stephenson.

    Among his other speculations: as nanotech becomes ubiquitous (in the way that bacteria are today), societies will manufacture nanotech-based airborne immune systems for themselves.

  • Will it be able to arrest, charge, and try the terrorist in a court of law? If it can't, you're building an assassination weapon, and you are building up criminals into enemies. You don't fight criminals by gunning them down in the street.
    • Will it be able to arrest, charge, and try the terrorist in a court of law? If it can't, you're building an assassination weapon, and you are building up criminals into enemies.

      Assassination is already the state policy of Israel, and enthusiastically pursued, and it was even in the occupied palestinian territories before they were granted some shadow of nominal self-rule that provided Israel some PR cover for not trying to arrest and prosecute suspects. So its unsurprising that they are creating an assass

  • Because as soon as the technology is available terrorists will start using them against the very political and military leaders who created them... DUH!
    • Because as soon as the technology is available terrorists will start using them against the very political and military leaders who created them.

      Worse, much worse. Seriously.

      The very political and military leaders who create assassination weapons will use them on ... each other.

      -kgj
      • Worse, much worse. Seriously.

        The very political and military leaders who create assassination weapons will use them on ... each other.

        That's not really that bad, after all, if anyone deserves it...

        The bigger problem is that the political and military leaders who create assassination weapons will continue to use them on "terrorists", the definition of which will slowly expand as those leaders feel threatened from more directions.

  • Well, with Lieberman now part of the Israeli government, calling for the .. "expulsion" of all Arab-Israelis, perhaps they need to seek a "final solution?" I'm sure one could google for manufacturers in Germany that produces gas chambers and internment camp gear.

    How 'bout it Olmert? Peretz? Lieberman? Why not complete the circle? Your people were so injured in WW2 (almost as much as the Russians)! That justifies ethnic cleansing, doesn't it?

  • The real reason why "Israel" needs all those weapons is because it cannot fight against the whole population.

    The real solution to Middle East problem would be one democratic state on the Palestine territory (that of course, includes "Israel") with right of return for all displaced persons.

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