Nagpur: In the coming days, the Indian Armed Forces may also allow remote-controlled rats to enter enemy positions during an operation to see it before troops attack.
The Asymmetric Technology Lab, which has also been a part of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), is developing what is also called the Animal Cyborg. These are also living beings whose minds can be controlled from a great distance as they can be used to capture images and other data of a location where they are released.
The project, which started about a year ago, is now in its second phase. The proof of concept has already been secured. It was discussed during the plenary session on Defense at the 108th Indian Science Congress. The presentation was also given by P Siva Prasad, Director, Defence Research and Development Organisation Young Scientist Laboratory Asymmetric Technologies.
Animal cyborgs are already available in developed countries like China. Like rats, remotely controlled beetles have also been created.
Animal cyborgs can be developed with other species as well
The first phase in India is also well completed. At this stage, the electrodes through which the movement of the rodents are controlled were surgically implanted. Right now, the idea is also to put it in a non-invasive way, which could be head mounting. The aim is also to ensure that the animal has the least amount of discomfort. While giving the presentation, the DRDO scientist said that at present there may be some problems after the surgery.
The technology sends certain signals to the brain that prompt the animals to turn, keep moving or stop. These are basically pleasure points in the nervous system, which when touched can be used to enable remote control of the animal. For example, if a rat stops at one point, it can be nudged to go further using a remote control.
The scientist said that rats are best suited for this purpose as they can move fast, can even reach deep corners, climb stairs and even survive on scrap food.
These rodents can be best utilized in urban areas. For example in a situation like 26/11 when the terrorists were hiding in a hotel and even the soldiers were not aware of their location at all. He has also said that animal cyborgs can be developed with other species as well. They also state that the mice were already available in the laboratory with all ethical approvals in place.