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Advanced Technology Includes Spy Drones the Size of Bumblebees and Shape of Mosquitos

By Sarah Wilson    3/8/13

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Warmer weather approaching in the spring and summer season means the mosquitoes will come out to terrorize family picnics, camping trips, and other outdoor activities. However, if the military and government have their way, you may one day have to take a really good look at the insect hovering overhead. Drone technology is advancing at an impressive rate, and already the government's and military's watchful eye includes much more than the average surveillance aircraft.

The public is used to hearing stories of planes, jets and helicopters equipped with spy drone technology meant to locate criminals, fight terrorists, and gather information in emergency situations. The technology has been quite helpful for the CIA and U.S. Army fighting terrorists overseas in places, such as Pakistan. Ongoing advancements in technology now allows surveillance drones to come in many different shapes and sizes, including in the form of tiny, remote controlled 'insects.'

Using the same laws of physics seen in flying insects, high-tech creative minds have been producing prototypes for a variety of miniature drones, or micro air vehicles (or MAVs). Researchers have successfully pushed the envelope of what is possible in the realm of drone technology. Some drones may incorporate bug-like eyes, bat ears, and bird wings. Other specimens are even equipped with hairs similar to that of a honeybee that have the ability to detect biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.

The possibilities are truly endless, and the U.S. Air Force have already revealed insect-sized 'spies' that were as small as bumblebees that could move undetected. Possessing the ability to fly into buildings, the insect-spies can take pictures, record, and even launch an attack on insurgents and terrorists.  At one time, the Air Force also reported that 'lethal mini-drones' inspired by the blueprints of the infamous Leonardo da Vinci's Ornithopter flying machine could make an official appearance by 2015.

The spy-insects also have the capacity to 'swarm,' as proven by the University of Pennsylvania GRASP Lab, who have successfully created a network of 20 nano quadrotors that can fly in synchronized formations. The 'swarm technology' could assist spy-insects to work with little to no direct supervision by humans. Scary thought…

Uses for the mechanical insects could include engineering that allows the tiny drones to survey battlefields and locate victims who are trapped in rubble. Tiny robots could fly inside and easily maneuver the rocky terrain of caves – helping the military uncover the barricaded, hidden rooms of terrorists. The drones could also send back vital, real-time intelligence to soldiers who need to know how many people and weapons to expect when raiding bunkers and residences of known terror threats.

The United States is not the only country experimenting with insect-like spy technology. France has their own microdrone with flapping wings. You can even get a hold of the 'flying video game' that uses a Parrot AR Drone (an example of BioMAV (Biologically Inspired A.I. for Micro Aerial Vehicles) developed by the Netherlands. The creature is controlled by a smartphone or tablet, and is available on Amazon.com.

With all of the public knowledge regarding this advanced technology, it's a wonder that more people aren't concerned about possible breaches of privacy. If such spy-insects can operate without being detected overseas, what is to stop the government from using the technology on American soil, and from crossing the lines of privacy and overlooking what's in the best interest for the public?

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