U.S.’s NEW SPYING STEALTH SHARK

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U.S.’s NEW SPYING STEALTH SHARK

 user 2006-03-03 at 10:10:00 am Views: 54
  • #14689

    US ‘plans stealth shark spies’
    Pentagon
    scientists are planning to turn sharks into “stealth spies” capable of
    tracking vessels undetected, a British magazine has reported.

    They want to remotely control the sharks by implanting electrodes in their brains, The New Scientist says.
    It
    says the aim is “to exploit sharks’ natural ability to glide through
    the water, sense delicate electrical gradients and follow chemical
    trails”.
    The unusual project was unveiled last week in Hawaii, it says.
    ‘Steering’ sharks
    The research is being funded by the Pentagon’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), according to the magazine.
    Remote-controlled
    sharks do have advantages that robotic underwater surveillance vehicles
    just cannot match: they are silent, and they power themselves
    The New Scientist
    It
    aims to build on latest developments in brain implant technology which
    has already seen scientists controlling the movements of fish, rats and
    monkeys.
    “Neural implants consists of a series of electrodes that
    are embedded into the animal’s brain, which can then be used to
    stimulate various functional areas,” the magazine says.It says such devices are already being used by scientists at Boston University to “steer” a spiny dogfish in a fish tank.The
    next step for the Pentagon scientists will be the release of blue
    sharks with similar devices into the ocean off the coast of Florida.
    As radio signals will not penetrate the sea, communications with the animals will be made by sonar.
    The
    US navy has acoustic signalling towers capable of sending sonar signals
    to a shark up to 300km (187 miles) away, the magazine says.
    It says the scientists will be particularly interested in the animals’ health during the tests.
    “As
    wild predators, it is very easy to exhaust them, and this will place
    strict limits on how long the researchers can control their movements
    in any one session without harming them.”Despite this limitation,
    though, remote-controlled sharks do have advantages that robotic
    underwater surveillance vehicles just cannot match: they are silent,
    and they power themselves,” the magazine says.The project was discussed
    at the 2006 Ocean Sciences Meeting of the American Geophysical Union in
    Honolulu, Hawaii.