Saturday, November 22, 2008

Get Out the Fly Paper

Over two years ago, in an article I wrote on the future of nanotechnology, I wrote about the nanotech "fly on the wall." Well, I wasn't dreaming. Others have been thinking about too. Whether or not this technology will be used for good is still up for grabs. In the meantime, you may want to get out the flypaper, as it should still catch those flying bots, where fly spray is useless.
If only we could be a fly on the wall when our enemies are plotting to attack us. Better yet, what if that fly could record voices, transmit video and even fire tiny weapons?

That kind of James Bond-style fantasy is actually on the drawing board. U.S. military engineers are trying to design flying robots disguised as insects that could one day spy on enemies and conduct dangerous missions without risking lives.

"The way we envision it is, there would be a bunch of these sent out in a swarm," said Greg Parker, who helps lead the research project at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. "If we know there's a possibility of bad guys in a certain building, how do we find out? We think this would fill that void."

In essence, the research seeks to miniaturize the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle drones used in Iraq and Afghanistan for surveillance and reconnaissance.

The next generation of drones, called Micro Aerial Vehicles, or MAVs, could be as tiny as bumblebees and capable of flying undetected into buildings, where they could photograph, record, and even attack insurgents and terrorists. [AP]