In professional pest control we must train our eyes to see what others overlook! That is not me, it is Sherlock Holmes that said this. I use it all the time in pest control. Investigation for pests is a true science and it takes an expert. In this case a tenant in an apartment building was complaining of a massive fruit fly infestation. She said she is spotlessly clean. I told her there must be a source somewhere.
Something rolled under an appliance? Dirty trash receptacle? Recycling container? Rotten fruit or vegetables? Spilled liquid? NO was the answer to all these questions. THEN she gave me her fruit fly trap she bought at a hardware store. SOLVED!!! Looking inside the trap I saw exactly why she has so many fruit flies. The picture tells the whole story! When it comes to pest control you need the CSI talents of EHS!
(click on images to enlarge)
General Manager - Staff Entomologist
How do insects such as butterflies, locusts andfruit flies navigate thousands of miles so precisely with only the unchanging sky in the foreground? Researchers now have an answer.
"If you go out in a field, lie on your back and look up at the sky, that's pretty much what an insect sees," said study co-author Michael Dickinson, a University of Washington biology professor. Peter Weir, doctoral student at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and Dickinson examined the behavior of the fruit fly, in outdoor lighting conditions, to find answers, the journal Current Biology reports. They demonstrated that fruit flies, equipped with complex compound eyes, keep their bearings by using the polarisation pattern of natural skylight, some of them for thousands of miles, according to Caltech-Washington statement.
Demonstrating that fruit flies can navigate using cues from natural skylight makes it easier to use genetics to better understand the complex capability and exactly how it is implemented in the brain. For millennia, seafarers have depended on the sun to know their position in the world, but often the sun is not visible. Polarisation vision solves that problem, Dickinson said, because if there's even a small patch of clear sky in a fruit fly's very broad range of view, then the natural light patterns can provide location information.
General Manager - Staff Entomologist
The U.S. air force is studying fruit flies to mimic swarming behavior for military needs.
The US Air Force is engaged in wacky research on fruit flies maneuvering within a heavily instrumented "simulation tunnel" in order to develop tiny, potentially murderous insect-sized flying robots.
According to a statement issued yesterday by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), research underway at in Californian labs will teach military designers how to build tiny robot aircraft which can fly around indoors or in built-up areas the way flies do.
"This work investigates sensory-motor feedback mechanisms in the insect brain that could inspire new approaches to flight stabilization and navigation in future insect-sized vehicles for the military," said Dr Willard Larkin of AFOSR.
Dr Andrew Straw of Caltech, leading the project for the Air Force, has built a special arena for his test flies to aviate around in, with video walls allowing a simulated environment to be presented to the fly. The insect test subject is tracked using a cunning multi-camera system.
"We developed a 3D fly tracking system which was our most significant technical challenge: localizing a fly in 3D nearly instantaneously," says Straw. "Next, we developed visual stimulus software capable of making use of this information to project virtual edges and textured floors in which we could modify the fly's sensory-motor feedback mechanism."
According to the AFOSR:
"The scientists have found that, counter to earlier studies suggesting that insects adjust their height by measuring the motion beneath them as they fly, flies in fact follow horizontal edges of objects to regulate altitude. Remarkably, this edge following behavior is very similar to a rule they use for steering left and right and always turning towards vertical edges."
If Straw and his colleagues can work out the rules the flies use to navigate - thought to be primarily visually based - it could be possible to design control systems for so-called Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs, small robot aircraft already in development) which would let them maneuver in places where there is no GPS signal.
Then the dark/exciting future shown in the vid above could become reality, with tiny military swarm droids scattering across towns or cities to locate or spy on persons of interest to the US authorities. They might even, as shown in the vid at around three minutes, be able to land on the back of your neck and blow your head off using some kind of tiny warhead.
Amazing what they can do nowadays.
By Lewis Page
Posted in Rise of the Machines, 8th December 2010 17:00 GMT
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