Insecti-gadgets Part 1

A Hostage Situation in a Heavily Armored Car

The local vigilante known as “Bugman” teams up with a professor of entomology and biological engineering to create a dynamic duo stopping crime in its tracks with insect inspired gadgets. The following is a mission briefing as told by the professor to Bugman. Be warned, the professor is obsessed with insect idioms and puns.

Bugman, we have a hostage situation downtown. Yes, on the night of the governor’s big banquet honoring the marriage of her only daughter. But wait, it gets better. One of the hostages is the mayor’s daughter herself. Perhaps whoever is behind all of this is a jealous ex with a bee in their bonnet over the daughter marrying someone else. Or maybe an opportunistic criminal seeking a big payday knowing the mayor will pay big money to get his daughter back on a night like tonight. But don’t worry, I’ll let you get the story straight after you apprehend the culprit.

Your mission is to break into a heavily armored vehicle and rescue the hostages being held captive inside. This is not a parked minivan, mind you. This vehicle is covered with high quality, bulletproof titanium plating and zero entrances from the outside. Oh, and it is in constant motion driving out of the city as we speak! The only way in is from the undercarriage. Along the undercarriage is a locked hatch leading to the hostages. So all you need to do is roll under the vehicle, open the door, and secure the hostages… but the flies in the ointment here are the low-to-the-ground titanium walls and the huge wheels (called drums) from a steam roller.

The four exterior sides of the vehicle hang incredibly low to the ground lifting it roughly a few inches off the ground. Intel reports claim that these low hanging walls are remotely controlled from inside the vehicle. Upon rescuing the hostages, you should be able to subdue the driver and find the controller which will lift the titanium walls of the vehicle and provide you a way out. Now comes the final conundrum– the drum-like wheels of the vehicle. This car rides on 2 huge cylindrical drums that will squish you like a bug if you get near. Unfortunately for you, the only way to the undercarriage is to get squished by the wheels. Before you get any more ants in your pants, check out the gadgets I have prepared for you. These insecti-gadgets will ensure a successful mission.

This Diabolical Ironclad Beetle armor will put you mind at ease about being run over by a steam roller. Designed with the Diabolical Ironclad Beetle in mind, this armor will protect you from being run over by a car just like it protects the beetle from such intense pressure. The front side of this armor is incredibly flexible. You’ll need to curl into a ball and tuck every inch of your body underneath the dorsal shell to activate its full protection.

The dorsal shell piece is where the Diabolical Ironclad Beetle armor gets its name. The Diabolical Ironclad Beetle can survive being run over by a car due to the clever engineering of its dorsal (backside) region. Layer upon layer of super tough material make up the exoskeleton of this beetle. But these layers overlap each other, fit together similar to a jigsaw puzzle and, when pressure is applied, can shift and move around to equalize the pressure to all other areas of the body. Since the small beetle can survive the pressure of a car running it over, and if our calculations are correct, you should be able to survive being run over by the heavily armored vehicle and get to the undercarriage. But just in case, you did update your life insurance policy right?

These sticky gloves are inspired by the unique chemical mixture from the Asparagus Beetle. This tiny beetle can lay its eggs on the underside of waxy asparagus leaves which remain there until they hatch or are dislodged by a force over 8,000 times the weight of the egg! In order to stick to waxy leaves, the beetle coats its eggs with a unique chemical mixture that combines with waxy surfaces to create a stronger bond than usual.

While wearing these gloves, simply apply pressure to the green grip dots to release a unique chemical mixture that combines with the oily metals from the undercarriage of cars to create an even stronger bond.

You’ll love the Bombardier Beetle spray! This is inspired by the dangerous Bombardier Beetle who sprays a noxious chemical compound called benzoquinone as a form of self-defense. To prevent its abdomen from burning up with this acidic chemical compound, the beetle mixes the reactants and heats them up in a special mixing chamber. It only becomes benzoquinone right before it shoots through the air, that’s some ingenious engineering! Your spray does the same. It mixes the reactants of a concentrated caustic acid in a special chamber right as you press the trigger then releases it seconds later. This should burn a hole in the hatch allowing you to break through!

That’s all there is to it Bugman. Use your Ironclad Beetle armor to get run over by the armored vehicle. While you are under the vehicle, use the Asparagus Beetle sticky gloves to hang to the underside of the vehicle. Then locate the hatch and burn through it using your Bombardier Beetle spray. Finally, rescue the hostages, subdue the driver, and save the day just in time for the Governor’s big banquet. All in a day’s work!

Thanks for reading part 1 of the “Insecti-gadgets” blog series! I hope you enjoyed it. My purpose in writing this blog series is to highlight some amazing insect adaptations with some incredible biological engineering potential for human use. The gadgets I write about are fictional, though a lot of the adaptations are being researched with future implications for bioengineering. Please let me know how you liked this read! Also, if you have any insect adaptation suggestions, please let me know! See the links below to learn more about the adaptations you read about in this post.

Diabolical Ironclad Beetle

Asparagus Beetle

Bombardier Beetle

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