|The Harvard Microbiotics Lab developed this tiny |
semi-autonomous inset robot, but it is currently
incapable of flying without a tether
Now, this is pretty weird. Rumors have been floating around the Net for a while now speculating on whether or not tiny, dragonfly-like robots have been covertly monitoring recent political demonstrations and protests around Washington, D.C., and New York. Numerous protesters at multiple events have reported seeing the helicopter-like insectoid entities, fueling suspicion that something sneaky was afoot. Yesterday the Washington Post brought the story mainstream in the interests of solving the case. What did they discover?
Basically, if the claims are true, someone has made great (and secret) strides in the field of robots capable of mimicking insectoid flight—something that's currently incredibly difficult to do. Research teams at universities across the country including Caltech, Vanderbilt and Harvard, are all trying to reproduce insect-like flight in a man-made robot—some of them even for the intended purpose of surveillance. None, however, have gotten anywhere near the sophistication required to engineer the minuscule, agile critters described by the protesters.
The Post also mentioned one of Darpa's creepiest programs: the race to embed microchips in the brains of moths and butterflies in the pupal stage that will eventually fuse to the more developed adults' brains, enabling control over their actions. PopSci reported on this and other ways that bugs are being enlisted for defense earlier this year. Thankfully, said program is many, many years from realization.
As of now, no one has netted one of these mysterious creatures for study. Here's hoping a Homeland Security robo-bug pilot gets sleepy sometime soon and allows one to be captured. Until then, protesters, keep your eyes to the sky. —John Mahoney
Learn to use spell check. This could be real. The true state of technology is around ten generations farther along then what is publicly acknowledged. Technological advancement does not rise at a constant rate. Computer chips are advancing faster then software can be written to utilize them.
(quad core, 128 bit)
Posted by: Bill | October 11, 2007 at 10:00 PM
if the true state of technology is 10 generations ahead, how can measure a generation? i'm interested in what the 7th and 8th generations would currently look like. and also, do you know how many generations till we have a good shrinking machine?
Posted by: guru | October 11, 2007 at 11:10 PM
so this is the next big thing, i mean robot, rule the world
Posted by: ket | October 12, 2007 at 02:48 AM
I'll need to get my electric fly spray
Posted by: coldpudding | October 12, 2007 at 06:44 AM
This Technology really is helpful in some cases but not all the time. There will be a time that man just like in some fantasy films would say that "there are many spies out there it could be anything, birds, trees, rocks, even insects."
Posted by: Nico | October 12, 2007 at 07:20 AM
If they can dream up all the conspiracies involving Iraq and that Bush was behind 9/11, I can certainly see how they can dream up flying insect bots that spy on them. and I have to live among these people?
Posted by: Nathan | October 12, 2007 at 10:10 AM
the author said "Thankfully, said program is many, many years from realization" WHY! Do yo not want your gov. to have a tool to fight islamo-facist?
Posted by: steve comins | October 12, 2007 at 11:25 AM
None of those protestors probably ever considered the fact that it's been getting warmer out. Warmer, humid summers and springs make mean more bugs! Also who needs really exspensive robo spy bugs flying around when you can watch them on a...camera. Good ol' security camera or video camera. You might of heard of those before, you can buy them anywhere. Better video image quality and sound. On a microchip bugbot you're going to get really grainy video and sound at best. Better for spying on foreign nations and military threats where you can stand out in the open with a simple camera.
Posted by: Captain BrickBat | October 12, 2007 at 11:56 AM
This is real....there is an article in a the sept. 29 issue of "The Economist" called 'learning to live w/ big brother'where a british journalist reports on how gov's. spies on us and he mentioned this exact surveilence system being deployed upon peaceful demonstrators/protestors, among others. coincidence? look it up.
Posted by: nate4freedom | October 12, 2007 at 12:42 PM
Posted by: White | October 12, 2007 at 01:18 PM
Remember the scene in a Get Smart episode about this over 40 years ago? The Chief had just finished viewing a demonstration of CONTROL's delicate, microphone-equipped, prototype spy robot fly that cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop... then Maxwell comes in to talk to Chief about another matter, sees the "fly" sitting on the desk, and immediately "kills" it with a rolled-up paper!
(Double Agent, Airdate: Saturday, January 8, 1965, 8:30 PM)
Posted by: rguru | October 12, 2007 at 01:29 PM
Technological advancement isn't bad intrinsically, it's the use of that technology that can be qualified as "good" or "bad". And considering the accelerated progress in technology and science, it's not a question of "if" but "when" (be it, one, seven or ten generations). One hundred years ago, some people must have wondered about the possible applications of telecommunications, flying machines or atomic energy, in the same way that now the author questions the use of this "future" technology; So, I believe we should be asking our selfs what to do, in order for those new creations, to be used in a "good" way, and prevent them, from being used to harm humanity, or even, the rest of the world, for that matter.
Posted by: Paul T | October 12, 2007 at 01:39 PM
Learn to use spell check, then proof read.
Posted by: Jerry | October 12, 2007 at 01:48 PM
Um... Jerry, not to be a stickler, but don't you mean "proofread"?
Motto for a longer life:
Don't sweat the small stuff...
and it's all small stuff.
Posted by: irony police | October 12, 2007 at 02:46 PM
I totally think this possible. Also, if the insects don't work out. Try attaching a phone with videoing capabilities to a remote control helicopter. If our science is so far ahead why haven't the invisibility cloak come onto to the market already. How many of you bloggers are in North Carolina? If so what county do you live in? I'm 15 and live in Wake County. Dude, try proofreading your stuff.
Posted by: mike | October 12, 2007 at 04:08 PM
everybody need some paronoid items. News are good but dangerous. Who can use this kind of rob for daily purpose.
Posted by: kemal | October 12, 2007 at 04:26 PM
To bee or not to bee?
That is the national security question.
Posted by: bard2.0 | October 12, 2007 at 05:57 PM
The Feds know all they want to know about you. It's called Social Security. Where do you think all the money goes? Certainly not into retirement funds.
I'd be more concerned about Big Business, rather than Big Brother. Ever wonder how much Wal Mart knows about you?
Posted by: Joseph A Nickence | October 13, 2007 at 07:15 AM
Karen, I think that information reliable so go for it, but if your gut feeling is that this is not good don't go for it. Better safe than sorry.
Posted by: mike | October 13, 2007 at 02:51 PM
Posted by: halo pwns | October 15, 2007 at 06:00 PM
ok that was a test run, but want to now, why do they want a flying robot when they have all the information in encryped files in their computers? just asking.
Posted by: halo pwns | October 15, 2007 at 06:01 PM
Invent a spy object that every body will try to kill if seen, idiots spend millioms on this?
Posted by: Lynton | October 20, 2007 at 11:56 AM
The government, i.e. the MILITARY is light years
ahead of any public knowledge....remember all the misinformation surrounding the Stealth Bomber? Blue-green laser can probably analyze your DNA from outer space by now, and who knows what else our tax dollars are funding. Classified files are numerous; facts involve "plausable denial".
Posted by: David Kuehn | October 20, 2007 at 03:59 PM
I wonder if the Mahoney who wrote this is the same one I know... :)
Anyway, I've been waiting for these little bots to come around into official surveillance use for a few years. Larger "species" have been test piloted in the last two years and I'm inclined to believe that the newest models are much, much smaller, and composed of very different materials. I wonder just how small can they get, and how much microprocessing power can be squeezed onto one? What about communication? Do they have video and audio? I think that would impress me most. I mean, they can't have a lot of memory aboard, so it makes sense that they would need to communicate with a ground base to relay information.
Really though...how small are they capable of making them at this point? Still big enough to be noticeable to the naked eye, right? Right?
Posted by: Liz | October 26, 2007 at 07:16 PM
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Posted by: veiviouctot | June 08, 2008 at 06:34 PM