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Dragonfly-Sized Insect Spies Spotted, Denied

kdawson posted about 7 years ago | from the shutter-bugs dept.

Privacy 433

SRA8 sends in a Washington Post piece about work at various academic, government, and military labs on insect-sized flying spies. A number of people reported what appeared to be flying mechanical insects, larger than dragonflies, over an antiwar rally in Washington DC last month. The reporter got mostly no-comments from the agencies he called trying to pin down what it was they saw. Only the FBI said through a spokesman: "We don't have anything like that." The article describes work on insect cyborgs as well as purely mechanical flying spies, but quotes vice admiral Joe Dyer, former commander of the Naval Air Systems Command now at iRobot in Burlington, Mass., as follows: "I'll be seriously dead before that program deploys." The article also mentions an International Symposium on Flying Insects and Robots, held in Switzerland in August, at which Japanese researchers demonstrated radio-controlled fliers with four-inch wingspans that resemble hawk moths.

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Nothing to see (1)

93,000 (150453) | about 7 years ago | (#20938787)

"Nothing to see here, move along."


Re:Nothing to see (5, Insightful)

archeopterix (594938) | about 7 years ago | (#20938847)

Well, it is actually, literally, nothing to see - robotlike insects flying near a big crowd and nobody took any pics?

Re:Nothing to see (4, Insightful)

93,000 (150453) | about 7 years ago | (#20938897)

Very true. It's not like years ago. These days I'd imagine that at least 60% of any group, anywhere at any time, has some type of camera on their person (cell, etc.). There really is no more 'too bad nobody had a camera'.

Re:Nothing to see (4, Insightful)

monk.e.boy (1077985) | about 7 years ago | (#20939121)

Oh yeah, cos phone cameras are, like, 2,000 times better resolution then my eyes.

Honestly, in most photos taken on phones you can barely make out a face, let alone a dragon fly at 20 meters.


Re:Nothing to see (2, Interesting)

Knuckles (8964) | about 7 years ago | (#20939227)

There really is no more 'too bad nobody had a camera'.

Have you ever tried to take a picture of a dragonfly, in flight, with the camera on your mobile?

Re:Nothing to see (3, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 7 years ago | (#20939123)

"Well, it is actually, literally, nothing to see - robotlike insects flying near a big crowd and nobody took any pics?"

Ok, so, next time you have a 'rally' that might attract this kind of attention, make sure to hang up a bunch of Shell No-Pest Strips all over the place.

I"m sure you'll catch some of the culprits that way.

Re:Nothing to see (1)

Urkki (668283) | about 7 years ago | (#20939371)

Well, it is actually, literally, nothing to see - robotlike insects flying near a big crowd and nobody took any pics?
Well, that depends... Maybe some people got photographs. And maybe the dragonflies saw who took the pictures... And maybe, just maybe, those people have now been erased... Mayb...

Ah, sorry. My tinfoil cap was just too tight. No, please, there was nothing to see there, no sir!

Re:Nothing to see (5, Funny)

flitty (981864) | about 7 years ago | (#20939013)

Joe Dyer, former commander of the Naval Air Systems Command now at iRobot in Burlington, Mass., as follows: "I'll be seriously dead before that program deploys."

In unrelated news, Joe Dyer has been found dead in an alley. Here's tom with the weather.

In Soviet Russia.. (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20938797)

...government spies on you.

Re:In Soviet Russia.. (2, Funny)

arktemplar (1060050) | about 7 years ago | (#20938843)

should'nt it be In Soviet Russia Spies Govern you ?

Re:In Soviet Russia.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20938931)

sorry, that is in Soviet America.

Re:In Soviet Russia.. (1)

kiso (1135517) | about 7 years ago | (#20938999)

...everyone spies on you.

Re:In Soviet Russia.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20939041)

I'm sure you meant Soviet America....

Why waste it on protestors? (4, Insightful)

madhatter256 (443326) | about 7 years ago | (#20938809)

If such a thing exist, which i doubt it does, then why would they use it on protesters? If they have developed this type of technology, then I'm sure they'd deploy them in high priority areas like in the Middle East, China, etc..

Re:Why waste it on protestors? (4, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 7 years ago | (#20938835)

Testing. Government agencies and military often test their new equipment in more 'predictable' scenarios such as protests. If it were proven technology, it would already be deployed in those high-priority areas.

Re:Why waste it on protestors? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20938867)

You are obviously naive about where the US gov't's priorites are.

Re:Why waste it on protestors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20938877)

Because protestors are enemies of the state too.

I believe the long term plan is that when we're all implanted with RFID chips those protestors will suddenly find their chips switched off and they'll be unable to carry out bank transactions, travel outside the country, get a job etc.

Nothing to hide and all that.

Re:Why waste it on protestors? (1)

somersault (912633) | about 7 years ago | (#20939143)

I don't think you can 'switch off' RFID chips, but you could disable their chip on the systems of course :p

Re:Why waste it on protestors? (1)

scubamage (727538) | about 7 years ago | (#20939173)

Well you can, it just involves a microwave oven, or possibly a HERF gun.

Re:Why waste it on protestors? (2, Insightful)

mdm-adph (1030332) | about 7 years ago | (#20938881)

Well, why create a "No-fly List" for airline flights if terrorists, such as the 9/11 hijackers, used fake names and ID's?

I mean, it's not like a country would ever use technology such as this to control its own populace... right?

That'd be just... silly, right?


Re:Why waste it on protestors? (5, Insightful)

Gregb05 (754217) | about 7 years ago | (#20939153)

From the 9/11 commission report [p102] standard policy was to hold luggage off the plane until people were confirmed to be boarding, or to search their luggage. There was not much keeping a hijacker from taking control of an airplane. At that point I'm sure they were more concerned about bombing than hijacking; typically hijackers make a few political demands, the plane lands somewhere and they get shot or arrested.

I don't know if the 9/11 hijackers used fake IDs (I thought they just used student Visas and such), but I'm pretty sure it would have been irrelevant if they had done so, since it's not like they'd have been stopped from boarding the airplane.

Regardless, take off the damn tinfoil hat, it makes you look stupid.

Congratulations! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20939321)

You have just won a free Deluxe Tin Hat.

Yes, you will soon be able to join your friends at the DailyKOS and in their pointless and deranged protests wearing the latest in Tin Hat Fashions.
Made of only the best tin available, this hat is your own personal Faraday cage!

Guaranteed for a life time, or, until the government kidnaps your ass and sends it to a secret CIA prison.

*Please do not use around high tension power lines or electrical substations.

for testing (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 7 years ago | (#20938903)

if they are not spotted while surveying a crowd of protesters in a busy city, you can use them for real spying. if they are, and they have been too, you need to develop them further.

Re:Why waste it on protestors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20938915)

Well it would be best to test them on people who have no real way of returning the favor so to speak. If a new spying device goes down over a crowd of protestors nobody would probably even notice, let alone have any power to do anything. If it went down over a real spying target, odds are they can cause quite a problem for the US government. They'd have to be able to if the government went to all the trouble to spy on them.

Re:Why waste it on protestors? (4)

Chineseyes (691744) | about 7 years ago | (#20938977)

Why are you so sure about that?

The FBI was dumb enough to waste resources spying on:

John Kerry a future US senator.
John Lennon a drug addict who was possibly mentally ill.
Coretta Scott King the wife of civil rights leader MLK.

This is just a small sample of the people they wasted tax payer money spying on unnecessarily.

The FBI wastes resources all of the time the same way any government organization does.

Re:Why waste it on protestors? (2)

websitebroke (996163) | about 7 years ago | (#20939085)

Not to mention Quaker groups. A real dangerous bunch...we can't have that pacifism disease spreading.

The thought was not quite finished (4, Insightful)

fnj (64210) | about 7 years ago | (#20939043)

If such a thing exist, which i doubt it does, then why would they use it on protesters? If they have developed this type of technology, then I'm sure they'd deploy them in high priority areas like in the Middle East, China, etc..
What makes you think they haven't, hmmm?

Re:Why waste it on protestors? (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | about 7 years ago | (#20939297)

You forget Vietnam? The US government loves testing on protesters before deploying things. Many types of tear gas and non-lethal ballistics have been tested on our own people protesting the very war those things where going to be used on.

That's what we need (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20938813)

Robotic *and* insect overlords

Re:That's what we need (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | about 7 years ago | (#20938885)

Actually what we need is a flyswatter for our robotic insectile overlords.

Re:That's what we need (1)

zeromorph (1009305) | about 7 years ago | (#20939027)

robotic insectoid black micro helicopters!

/* puts on his tin-foil head */

/*screams*/ with frickin' laser beams [] ...aaaaah!

Hand waving... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20939093)

...these are not the robotic insect overlord spies you're looking for. You can go about your business.

Re:That's what we need (1)

DrWho520 (655973) | about 7 years ago | (#20939101)

Insecticons! []

I for one... (-1, Redundant)

Captain Zep (908554) | about 7 years ago | (#20938827)

...welcome our non-existent insect-sized flying robot overlords.


YRO? (1, Redundant)

blueg3 (192743) | about 7 years ago | (#20938831)

Why is this Your Rights Online? It involves neither rights nor online.

Re:YRO? (3, Insightful)

rumith (983060) | about 7 years ago | (#20938859)

Why is this Your Rights Online? It involves neither rights nor online.

Re:YRO? (1)

Runefox (905204) | about 7 years ago | (#20939415)

I, for one, welcome our new packet-switching robotic insect rootkit overlords.

Re:YRO? (1)

witte (681163) | about 7 years ago | (#20939181)

Perhaps YRO is just where /. posts all the tinfoil hat stories.

Was this Burma or USA? (0, Troll)

Bromskloss (750445) | about 7 years ago | (#20938845)

Surveilling protest rallies like this is creepy.

Anyway, were none of these captured? If so, I'm sure the crafty Slashdot crowd could produce some photos.

Re:Was this Burma or USA? (4, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | about 7 years ago | (#20938887)

And a waste of resources. Why send highly advanced craft out to watch people when TV cameras are everywhere, and half the protesters are probably capturing video to put on You-Tube later? It's not for testing, the risks of one getting caught or filmed is too great. It's hard to deny something when there's hard, physical evidence being shown.

Re:Was this Burma or USA? (4, Insightful)

a_nonamiss (743253) | about 7 years ago | (#20939011)

You nailed my thoughts exactly. I wouldn't deny that such a device could exist, but if it did, it would represent pretty huge (and presumably secret) advances in technology. The risk that one of these would be captured, or malfunction, has to be substantial. If these fell into the wrong hands, then the people who invented and deployed them would lose their advantage. All that being said, why would they be "wasted" on a group of protesters? There are MUCH more low-tech ways of surveillance, if that's their goal. It's only logical that the spooks would save these for places where traditional surveillance wasn't possible, or was impractical.

My guess is that some unfortunate people got some of the brown acid...

Re:Was this Burma or USA? (1)

Draeven (166561) | about 7 years ago | (#20938901)

Could have been a test run or something.

Captured? Not without the person doing it getting their ass handed to them.

Yay! They're Watching! (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 7 years ago | (#20939017)

Surveilling protest rallies like this is creepy.

It may be creepy, but it is a clear sign that a protest rally is starting to work. Someone noticed, got nervous, and sent spies.

Re:Yay! They're Watching! (1)

SIIHP (1128921) | about 7 years ago | (#20939299)

"and sent spies"

That entire concept is pretty silly.

Explain how someone can spy on a public exhibition, the purpose of which was to be seen?

The only reason you and those like you say it was spying is becuase "spying" engenders a visceral emotional reaction. It certainly isn't accurate.

Grain of NaCl (5, Insightful)

Choad Namath (907723) | about 7 years ago | (#20938853)

I would take these supposed sightings with a huge grain of salt. If you're expecting to be watched, then you just might see something "watching" you. Sometimes a dragonfly is just a dragonfly.

Re:Grain of NaCl (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | about 7 years ago | (#20938919)

This is the antiwar crowd, right ? Obviously Bush is "spying" on them you know.


They're just crying for attention.

No, they're *barking* for attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20938991)

Bark! Moonbat, bark!

Good Moonbat!

Re:Grain of NaCl (2, Insightful)

s4m7 (519684) | about 7 years ago | (#20939203)

Obviously Bush is "spying" on them you know.

He hasn't admitted authorizing spying on U.S. Citizens [] in the past or anything. Those anti-war people are clearly paying attention to those pesky "facts" again.

If you start calling another crowd "anti-war", doesn't that mean you're "pro-war"? What kind of babbling idiot is pro-war?

Re:Grain of NaCl (0, Flamebait)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | about 7 years ago | (#20939037)

No this is actually interesting. The foto's for example clearly illustrate that these people are not afraid of falsifying evidence, then denying they did so.

Which is a good thing to remember the next "atrocity" commited by, oh I don't know, Bush, Marine, Israeli soldier, republican senator, what have you ...

Re:Grain of NaCl (3, Funny)

physicsphairy (720718) | about 7 years ago | (#20939055)

I wonder at the mindset of the people complaining.

"Hey, let's all get together in some big mob in a public area with big signs and shout collective messages! Yeah! Let's do it!"

20 seconds later...

"Man, I think we're being spied on." "Really?" "Yeah, check out those low-flying insects... probably robots or something." "QMGZ, you're right! The government is watching us! Our cleverly concealed group of hundreds of protestors has been outed to the man!"

Anyway, I thought we'd already pinned squirrels [] as the chief liaisons of CIA spy programs. Doesn't a jump straight from squirrel to fly violate Moore's law?

Re:Grain of NaCl (1)

dmorelli (615543) | about 7 years ago | (#20939177)

Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean you are not, in fact, all out to get me.

Re:Grain of NaCl (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 7 years ago | (#20939255)

I view this as I view Bigfoot. When someone brings back a dead one for public display then we have proof.

Next article on Make (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20938861)

Pidgeon with a camcorder duct taped to it.

Catch-22 (-1, Flamebait)

E++99 (880734) | about 7 years ago | (#20938873)

If the government DID have mechanical dragonflies, how would we know? The drug of choice of the anti-war movement causes both hallucination and paranoia.

Re:Catch-22 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20939343)

The anti-war movement has a drug of choice? Man, and I thought conspiracy theorists were fucking retarded.

Nature science (this years and last years courses) (1)

Paprikawokkel (706933) | about 7 years ago | (#20938875)

See Insect trainers, insect training; insect training manuals; flea circus. Sound creation/manipulation using insects. Image creation using insects. Communication using insects.

Doubt it (4, Interesting)

pablo_max (626328) | about 7 years ago | (#20938895)

I know that it is for sure possible to make a little flying robot. Not "so" hard I would even say. However, what is hard is keeping that little guy with power. I don't think that they have the batteries to power the flight of it, plus the gear to send the pictures back home and not to mention navigation controls. You could maybe manage 5min max for something so small, assuming it was really really light. I dont think 5 min is a useful time though. Who knows, maybe I am wrong though.

Re:Doubt it (1)

Chineseyes (691744) | about 7 years ago | (#20939165)

I don't want to come off as paranoid because I hate conspiracy theorists, but the technology we all enjoy today was invented in the 60's. I would not be surprised in the least if there was technology that is not available to the general public because it is top secret, is extremely costly, or a combination of both. There are very brilliant people out there that if approached with the offer of having a nearly unlimited budget, time, and the ability to pursue their field of interest would jump at the opportunity and produce technology that we could only dream of.

That said, Pictures or it didn't happen!

Re:Doubt it (1)

EriDay (679359) | about 7 years ago | (#20939185)

On a sunny day, the sun could provide all the power necessary with perhaps a capacitor to serve as a battery in case of a cloud. Pictures wouldn't be sent home as the RF would cause a security risk (as well as a power drain). How much does a micro SD card weigh? Micro SD is the packaged consumer version. The spooks would make something lighter that includes a low power version of the chip but not the packaging in the consumer version.

Something this small and light would be subject to the vagaries of the wind. D.C. would be the perfect place for the Feds to fly this. You would need access to a wide swath of real estate because the landing position couldn't be controlled with any precision.

Re:Doubt it (1)

pablo_max (626328) | about 7 years ago | (#20939391)

"On a sunny day, the sun could provide all the power necessary with perhaps a capacitor to serve as a battery in case of a cloud" Hmm, I seriously doubt that. Granted I am not the world expert in solar power, but I know they are not that efficient. I do have a lot of experience in RC helicopters though. I can tell you that I only get about 10 min out of my 1300 mA LiPo battery flying my smallest Heli around and that provides a TON more power than any solar cell can. The wings on something so small would need to move extremely fast to keep on course and air born, thus it would require something hi current. Solar does not have this. Ok, lasers maybe...but whats the point? You have to have LOS with the laser so when you lave LOS to your target anyhow...just take a look yourself with some binocs ;)

Re:Doubt it (1)

0111 1110 (518466) | about 7 years ago | (#20939187)

unless you recharged the battery with a microwave beam, or with a laser, or used a nuclear power source like betavoltaics, RTGs, or thermoelectric radioisotope generators. All in all it does seem rather unlikely. In any case you wouldn't have enough energy density to fly continuously. You would have to land somewhere and rest/recharge after, say, 5 minutes of flying time.

Oblig. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20938921)

It's not a bug, it's a feature!

Orly? (2)

Drakin020 (980931) | about 7 years ago | (#20938943)

Only the FBI said through a spokesman: "We don't have anything like that."
*whew* We'll thats good. Nothing to see here folks move along. Why would the FBI ever hide something from us.

Doubtful, but if it *is* true . . . (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | about 7 years ago | (#20938955)

. . . then I'd be seriously upset with the government for holding back such a revolutionary energy storage technology, yet impressed they're able to keep it away from the general market where it would be worth trillions.

As I've said before, building a robotic insect with cameras, transmitters, and capable of flight is well within our technical capabilities. Stuffing in a battery with enough juice to make it at all useful is not.

Re:Doubtful, but if it *is* true . . . (1)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | about 7 years ago | (#20939397)

Just a small step up in photovoltaics would make this very possible. A jump from about 15-20% to 30-40% efficiency would make technology like this easily viable.

Huge issues.. (5, Interesting)

foodnugget (663749) | about 7 years ago | (#20938961)

Sure, the gov't has limitless budget/captive genius scientists, etc... but really.. the technical hurdles to such a product are enormous... for starters....

Batteries - this would be very difficult to make work for a long time when it has to fly by way of flapping wings!
Control system - Airplanes are *relatively* easy to make a control system for, because they're well studied and time tested(and even this is hard and requires pounds upon pounds of circuitry (yes, the redundancy isn't necessary for a spy bug, but even the smallest processors/accelerometers/gyroscopes weigh more than a fsking bug!). A robot with flapping wings we don't understand well on the original nature-made product? not happening yet!
Reproducing a convincing style of flight
When someone caught/"killed" one, the jig would be up!

What's much more likely is if your "men in black" were to use the hundreds of *readily available* security cameras mounted.... everywhere....

Besides, if it is a protest, what are you hiding? You are OUTSIDE. You are making your desires VISIBLE for the reason of convincing others to take them! you are not in a back room being all clandestine. You want people to see you!

Re:Huge issues.. (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | about 7 years ago | (#20939125)

Good points. While camouflaging a robot to mimic a real life form might have certain advantages, it's got a number of design problems that for all we know have been solved by advanced defense projects, but probably aren't. Something the size of fleas might be more attractive if they ever become feasible, which would be less likely to be noticed and wouldn't really rely on mimicry to remain unnoticed. And you're right, there are other, better, cheaper ways to do spying and surveillance.

Regarding your point about visibility, at protests, the protesters want the CROWD to be highly visible. They probably want to remain relatively anonymous, so as to remain protected against illegal reprisals. This sort of surveillance makes it possible for oppressive governments to create lists of names and do all kinds of dirty things to them in order to quash dissent and subvert democracy. It's unsettling.

Power (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 7 years ago | (#20939287)

You wouldn't power such a device with batteries anyways. You'd use a chemical engine. "There's more energy in a drop of gasoline than in a battery that weighs as much as a drop of gasoline." Not that I'm saying they use gasoline. They could use vinegar and baking soda, or some other reaction that creates a lot of gas. There are plenty of chemical reactions that could power a device of that scale a lot more effectively than battery power.

Of course you'd still need to power the electronics, and that would take a battery, but it would be a lot smaller. You could possibly even use a thin film solar panel to produce the power.

Re:Huge issues.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20939313)

A robot with flapping wings we don't understand well on the original nature-made product? not happening yet!
If hobbyists [] are duplicating it, what are the professionals capable of doing?

They are being advertised on TV (1)

Iowan41 (1139959) | about 7 years ago | (#20938969)

But without the camera. The idea that the government doesn't have something better than a child's toy is laughable. I bet Slashdotters could take one of those toys, put a tiny camera on it, and sell the plans.

Re:They are being advertised on TV (1)

ivan256 (17499) | about 7 years ago | (#20939097)

Where? Are you sure they're really small?

I only ask, because I've never seen such an ad, and if it's real I want to buy one.

video link is of an unrelated demo (5, Insightful)

m0llusk (789903) | about 7 years ago | (#20938973)

It seems there is no video or pictures to share of this, so there is a link to a large video of a demo of some other small flyer that requires a custom player download. This is a good example of modern gotcha journalism where being anxious for clicks and page views and movie downloads to drive their advertising model causes lots of incomplete, poorly edited, or barely relevant material to be included. Using video instead of text is particularly important since that offers a way around most ad blocking technologies.

Re:video link is of an unrelated demo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20939151)

Custom player download? Looks like standard flash/.swf to me. But yes, it's a bird-sized flyer that is not related..

Re:video link is of an unrelated demo (1)

Torontoman (829262) | about 7 years ago | (#20939233)

I agree with your comments that the article is light on fact and makes quite a jump from the protest to 'here's the current tech'- but it's a very legit newspaper known for invesitating stories thoroughly before publishing them. Peer pressure more than the people from above coming down on you would probably be enough for anyone at the paper to be sure of their facts before they put them to print (unless the author wanted to be known as a whacko). It's not World Weekly News anyhow - BUT - show me the evidence. Maybe next time the political protestors will show up with bug nets and catch one of them robotic bug-bugs.

Perhaps next kdawson could post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20938975)

Some of the articles from

Y'know, that's technology that involves our rights too...

Bet it's just the new toy from WowWee... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20938997)

Heh (1)

gammygator (820041) | about 7 years ago | (#20939001)

I haven't seen any bug spies, but I'm pretty sure I have seen those unmanned planes more than once. Somewhere, some CIA spook has a picture of me with a beer in hand and flying the bird at the camera.

Why no pics? (1)

DAldredge (2353) | about 7 years ago | (#20939023)

Why no pics? One would think that will all the cameras people have today that SOMEONE would have gotten a picture or ten.

I was at that march... (4, Funny)

Scratch-O-Matic (245992) | about 7 years ago | (#20939033)

...and a mechanical spy-bird cra*ped on my tinfoil hat.

If these exist.. (4, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | about 7 years ago | (#20939047)

..then I've got to go to more antiwar rallies. I can't be the only fool who would love to catch one of these babies and take it home to play with... anyone selling butterfly nets with Faraday cages installed?

My kingdom! (1)

the_skywise (189793) | about 7 years ago | (#20939239)

My kingdom for some mod points right now!

Two Words: (1)

Caste11an (898046) | about 7 years ago | (#20939051)

Butterfly net.

Uh huh... flying robots you say? (-1, Flamebait)

cowwoc2001 (976892) | about 7 years ago | (#20939057)

This should goes to show you how crazy some of these conspiracy theory guys are. Everything is a conspiracy theory to them. Maybe.. just maybe.. they should consider getting a job and trying to live like normal people.

I found something! (1)

Parallax Blue (836836) | about 7 years ago | (#20939061)

"If you find something, let me know," said Gary Anderson of the Defense Department's Rapid Reaction Technology Office.

Hey Mr. Anderson, take a look at thi +++ carrier lost +++

it's just danny dunn (4, Informative)

jjeffries (17675) | about 7 years ago | (#20939077)

no worries. Danny Dunn, Invisible_Boy []

Cute, but no.. (5, Interesting)

rotide (1015173) | about 7 years ago | (#20939083)

I'm a model hobbiest. I happen to fly RC helicopters in the "small" size range. For those that want to believe these are real, more power to you, honestly. It would be really fun to buy consumer level versions of something similar to the purported goverment versions as I'm sure they would be fun as hell to fly. But frankly..... Helicopters, which are tried and tested technology, at the minature level (I fly one with an 18" rotor diamater) it becomes EXTREMELY unstable in any wind. Shrink that down to a 6" diamater and to be honest, you wouldn't be able to control it in anything but a room with no fans, etc, causing air currents. Now we're talking about dragonfly size? AND outdoors? It's, unfortunately, not a reality. At least in my opinion.

Hehe (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 7 years ago | (#20939099)

And some people were so sure that "spy squirrels" in Iran were not for real :).

RAID! (1)

rlg2006 (963068) | about 7 years ago | (#20939103)

I'll start worrying when the folks that make RAID insect repellent release a new formula. "Instantly kills Wasps, Hornets, and other flying "insects."

Listen up...! (1)

djupedal (584558) | about 7 years ago | (#20939105)

We have an announcement before we get back to the event, so everyone...hey...please listen up. This is important.

The red-dot acid being passed around is B A D - avoid the red-dot acid!

It's a bummer, I know - just don't use it, ok...? Try the blue, I guess. Now, back to the show...

imagine... (1)

cosmocain (1060326) | about 7 years ago | (#20939171)

...a beowulf swarm of these!

Since they don't exist (1)

eclectro (227083) | about 7 years ago | (#20939191)

Nobody will mind if we swing one of these around []

these bugs eat aluminum (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 7 years ago | (#20939195)

meaning, when the bugs are flying around, and come across one of us levelheaded beacons of truth in our tinfoil hats, the bugs will purposely go out of their way to attack us and leave us defenseless to the mind control deat rays

the illuminati engineered the bugs that way, because they know us wise tinfoil hat wearers are the last bulwarks of fact standing between them and complete world domination

Why not protestors? (1)

scubamage (727538) | about 7 years ago | (#20939309)

Think about it.. protesters would make wonderful labrats for this. They're already primed to think that the government is going to swoop in and brutalize (like at the WTO protests, etc), and paranoia and emotions are running hot. They're on the lookout. As mentioned above, if the flyers can be used and not spotted, especially by an overly paranoid angry crowd, they'd almost definately be successful behind enemy lines on unsuspecting individuals.

Toy (1)

Lodragandraoidh (639696) | about 7 years ago | (#20939323)

I've seen ads on TV for tiny toy helicopters and more interestingly - ornithopters that look like large dragonflys. They are radio or infrared controlled.

Someone could have been flying these over the crowd.

These Have Been Around Since 70's (5, Informative)

Evil W1zard (832703) | about 7 years ago | (#20939357)

I'm not saying that any of these were used (or a newer version of the technology) at the protest but remotely controlled mini-insect UAVs have been around since the 70's. If you go to the CIA's website and take the virtual museum tour ( you can actually look at the Dragonfly Insecothopter that has been declassified. From the CIA text:

"Developed by CIA's Office of Research and Development in the 1970's, this micro-UAV was the first flight of an insect-sized vehicle (insectothopter). It was intended to prove the concept of such miniaturized platforms for intelligence collection. Insectothopter had a miniature engine to move the wings up and down. A small amount of gas was used to drive the engine, and the excess was vented out the rear for extra thrust. The flight tests were impressive. However, control in any kind of crosswind proved too difficult."

Once again Im not saying these were used to spy on protesters, but I know people are going to be like "there is no such thing like this out there...." So I figured I would add in some info to show that this type of tech did exist.

We may already be beyond that (3, Informative)

Phat_Tony (661117) | about 7 years ago | (#20939373)

In "Class 11," by T.J. Waters, a book about the first class of CIA counter-terrorism field agents trained after 9/11 (on pgs 15-17 of the hardcover edition), he claims that the CIA had fully functional flying radio bugs that were nearly indistinguishable from real dragonflies unless you look at them close up and from directly overhead, and that we had these back in 1967.

He goes on to mention that this technology, being 40-years old, "pales in comparison" to what they have today.

You can view these pages for free at Amazon [] . Search inside the book for "dragonfly" and they'll come right up. It wouldn't let me direct link to the pages.

Charlie Jade (2, Informative)

Aladrin (926209) | about 7 years ago | (#20939379)

After seeing the tag 'charliejade', I was like 'yes!' For those who didn't get to see that great show, it was about a guy that can travel between different universes (the multi-verse) and one of them was extremely techie. In that one, they had insects that were spies.

Of course, I haven't seen it in a while now, so I may be a bit off with that explanation.

Quite an interesting show, despite the slow start.

From an old TV episode of "Get Smart": (1)

rwyoder (759998) | about 7 years ago | (#20939389)

A guy in a lab coat is in the Chief's office, demonstrating his new invention that took him a year to develop: a remotely-controlled robotic house-fly that can transmit a live audio feed back to the operator. He flies it around the room then lands it on the Chief's desk. Just then, Maxwell Smart walks in and begins talking to the Chief. He suddenly pauses, whips a rolled-up newspaper from under his arm, and smashes the fly on the desk. The guy in the lab coat leaves the office in tears, cupping the remains of the fly in his hands.

obviously a dumb story (5, Informative)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 7 years ago | (#20939407)

We don't yet have insect-sized spy vehicles. Maybe check back in another 15 years but not now. Besides, we don't need 'em, what we already have is scary enough. Check this shit out. [] []

The picture quality from these drones is simply amazing. The small size means that they're very likely to escape notice from people on the ground. One of the spy drone models I've seen is a four rotor copter running off of battery with a 2.5 hour air time. Longer-haul drones are fixed wing and can stay on station for longer. These little drones are astounding. They can get a line of sight on a second floor window from a few miles away and zoom in until you feel like you're peeking in from a ladder outside. The gyroscopic stabilization means that the images remain clear and useful.

In conjunction with the air vehicles, I'm sure there's probably work going on with vermin-sized spy vehicles, something rat-like. Small enough to penetrate buildings and go unnoticed. Rather than relying on agents to covertly break into locations and install bugs, send in a "rat." If you lose it, no big deal, it's not like one of your agents was killed. Note: I don't have a link for this since I haven't seen it discussed anywhere but it seems like too obvious of an idea, someone has to be working on it somewhere.

Right now we are seeing a huge transition for drones, moving from the era of being remotely piloted aircraft to autonomous robotic aircraft. The Fire Scout the Navy is working on is completely computer-controlled, the only joysticks on the ground equipment are for directing the cameras. []

I've read about what the scout drones can do for warfare and its revolutionary. Field commanders can get a view of the battlefield that is something you'd expect from a video game, eye in the sky, spying on enemy positions, all of the information relayed to a tactical plot in real-time. Avionics designers have been talking about sensory overload for a long time, the problem where a pilot can have more geegaws and doodads feeding him information than he can deal with at one time. That was the reason why interceptors like the F-14 and F-4 had a dedicated radar operator in addition to the pilot. That's also the reason why a guy-in-back was added to some models of the F-15. With more advanced systems fusing the streams of information into consolidated displays, one pilot can keep up with all of the information. That's why the Apache flies with a pilot and gunner but the canceled Comanche only had a single pilot.

This same process is going to be going on in the army general's command post. And with how bloody cheap technology is getting, you can well imagine the same thing will be happening for the third world military and insurgents as well.
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