Saturday, February 19, 2011

In Your Backyard in 10 Years Time: Spy Hummingbird and Sparrow

We will have to swat them when we ever see them....

(It is cute, though, isn't it?)

Thanks anyway, DARPA, for the excellent use of our tax money ($3.2 billion per year), setting us against birds if we dare value our privacy...

From (2/18/2011):

( -- A prototype robot spy "ornithopter," the Nano-Hummingbird, has successfully completed flight trials in California. Developed by the company AeroVironment Inc., the miniature spybot looks like a hummingbird complete with flapping wings, and is only slightly larger and heavier than most hummingbirds, but smaller than the largest species.

The Hummingbird's bird-shaped body is removable but it gives the bot an uncanny resemblance to a real . The vehicle can hover and maneuver just like the bird.

The can fly into buildings under the control of an operator flying the spybot with the help of a feed from its tiny . The prototype is capable of flying at speeds of up to 18 km/h (11 mph) and weighs 19 grams, which is about the same as an AA battery.

Manager of the project, Matt Keennon, said it had been a challenge to design and build the spybot because it “pushes the limitations of aerodynamics.” The specifications given to the firm by the Pentagon included being able to hover in an 8 km/h wind gust and being able to fly in and out of buildings via a normal door.

The spybot was developed for the US military's research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The hummingbird appearance is intended to disguise the bot, although it would look decidedly out of place and would attract attention in most places in the world since hummingbirds are not found outside of the Americas.

.....The current model is a prototype and more development is required before any decisions are made on its deployment. Keennon said he expected the flight time to improve as the spybot develops, and said he envisaged it could be used for reconnaissance purposes in around a decade. He also said the final version is unlikely to look like a hummingbird, which is rare even in parts of the US, and he thinks a sparrow would be a better choice. has the video of the maiden flight of this spy-hummingbird.

What's next? "Nano-ants"? I'm sure they are already doing that... How about spy-viruses? Oh I forgot, they've already done that - remember Stuxnet?


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