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Robotic Fly to Descend on New York

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the now-you-can-be-the-fly-on-the-wall dept.

Sci-Fi 138

DeviceGuru writes "Harvard University's tiny microrobotic fly, hailed by its creators as 'the first robotic fly that is able to generate enough thrust to takeoff,' will be showcased at New York's Museum of Modern Art starting Feb. 24. The life-sized 'Flybot' reportedly has a wingspan of 1.2 inches (3 cm) and weighs a mere 0.002 ounces (60 mg). This project of the Harvard University Microbotics Lab has received funding from DARPA, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which hopes to gain access to micro-miniature surveillance technologies."

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Off topic but it needs to be said (-1, Offtopic)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138772)

Ben Bernanke HATES America, he is doing everything in his power to destroy it.

Won't be long now (4, Interesting)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138788)

The expression "I wish I was a fly on the wall when $EVENT happened" is soon to become reality...

Re:Won't be long now (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139670)

Bringing the rise of a new expression...

"I wish my fly on the wall had batteries that lasted more than 15 minutes!"

I don't care how small they make it, until it has hours of power in it, it's nothing but a expensive toy.

Re:Won't be long now (2, Interesting)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139896)

I mentioned in a comment down the page a bit that by the time they get a decent avionics package scaled for the thing, all that broadcast power research that folks keep talking about will have caught on, at least a little bit.

Or perhaps they could take a leaf from that UAV design that was in the news a while ago that would supposedly leech power from distribution lines--a similar idea, but scaled down to fly size. You wouldn't need more than a few microwatts to power a fly, I shouldn't think, and you could probably get that from induction by sitting on a lamp cord or something.

Re:Won't be long now (1)

XHIIHIIHX (918333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22141106)

They do this by sucking induction current off your household electricity like your cordless toothbrush. Some of them can recharge from a household outlet as well.

Re:Won't be long now (1, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139772)

The expression "I wish I was a fly on the wall when $EVENT happened" is soon to become reality...
Would you believe 20 minutes into the future?

Carter: What I wouldn't give to be a fly on that boardroom wall.
Bryce: Well, you can if you like.
Carter: What?
Cheviot: ...got to stop this now!...
Carter: Bryce, what is this?
Bryce: Oh, it's a bug. Well, a fly, actually. It was my graduation project when I was eleven.
Carter: A mechanical fly?

Re:Won't be long now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22139834)

And security on these things can't be THAT robust, giving a whole, new meaning to the phrase"

"Your fly is open!"

In Soviet Russia... (1)

clam666 (1178429) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140220)

...robotic flies build you!

This Revolutionizes Woody Allen's Comedy (3, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138798)

Woody Allen: Waiter, there is a DARPA robotic fly in my soup!
Waiter: Don't worry sir that GRU robotic spider on your bread will soon get him!

Re:This Revolutionizes Woody Allen's Comedy (4, Interesting)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138836)

An amusing notion, but keep in mind where the endpoint for this lies. There's two possible routes, as far as I can see:

First is the Diamond Age route, where the 'bots go smaller and smaller until they get to the nanoscale, and we end up with 'toner' everywhere.

The second is building a spider to catch the fly, building a bird to catch the spider, building a cat to catch the bird, et al., until you get up to the point where you're making little old ladies swallow equines to take care of a surveillance bug.

Re:This Revolutionizes Woody Allen's Comedy (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138972)

point where you're making little old ladies swallow equines
How is a little old lady going to swallow a HORSE .... ? oh, I get .... ewwww....you're sick!

Re:This Revolutionizes Woody Allen's Comedy (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139232)

There was an old lady who swallowed a horse--
She's dead, [wikipedia.org] of course.

Re:This Revolutionizes Woody Allen's Comedy (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139208)

Nah, we just use cellphone jammers to drop these damn flies; it worked great for Gordon Brown and that pesky 757 that flew overhead at Heathrow the other day.....

Re:This Revolutionizes Woody Allen's Comedy (1)

Welshalian (733176) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139938)

'bots go smaller and smaller until they get to the nanoscale, and we end up with 'toner' everywhere
Sounds like the plot of Prey [wikipedia.org] by Michael Crichton.

Re:This Revolutionizes Woody Allen's Comedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22140312)

Or we could just open a window and wait for a gust of wind...

Re:This Revolutionizes Woody Allen's Comedy (2, Interesting)

Petaris (771874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140480)

Take that one step beyond surveillance, it probably doesn't take much verve toxin on a tiny needle (fly bite anyone?) to kill a person. :/

I know that this could be a bit paranoid of me to think this but then, perhaps not? :(

Re:This Revolutionizes Woody Allen's Comedy (1)

Petaris (771874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140506)

s/verve/nerve oops! And I even used preview. :(

Re:This Revolutionizes Woody Allen's Comedy (2, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139042)

Waiter: "Ssh! Don't tell anyone, everyone will want one!"

Good bye privacy (3, Insightful)

DeeQ (1194763) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138814)

Welcome Big brother!

Re:Good bye privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22138856)

This will allow stricter monitoring of goddamn hippy protesters. This could be a good thing.

Just kidding. I hope it's used to spy on criminals.

better yet, politicians (3, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138924)

Now maybe we really can have open government.

Re:Good bye privacy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22138948)

I hope it's used to spy on government officials and secret boardroom dealings.

Seriously, I'm beginning to think that's only thing that will save our civilization from the evil sociopaths in positions of power ... the knowledge that everything they do and say might be open to public surveillance and scrutiny. I'm actually willing to give up every last shred of my privacy if it also means the end of state secrets, evil backroom dealings, etc.

Re:Good bye privacy (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139476)

Why should we give up our privacy though? I'm all in favor of different rules for our "leaders."

Re:Good bye privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22140628)

Why should we give up our privacy though?

Because we live inn a world that's governed by what is realistic.

It is not realistic to expect a group of sociopaths to willingly subject themselves to a higher standard of scrutiny and accountability compared to the rest of the population. In fact, we have ample evidence that they feel they are less accountable for their actions than the people they represent. If your objective is to turn a bright light on a bunch of cockroaches, you don't let the cockroaches write the rule book on how light switches operate.

It is however realistic to expect that surveillance technology will one day become so cheap and unobtrusive that absolutely everyone is subjected to the same set of rules: i.e. no privacy whatsoever.

Re:Good bye privacy (1)

Henneshoe (987210) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140732)

I am pretty sure a surveillance device as small and mobile as a fly would not end up in the public sector anytime soon. If it did, every pedo in the world would save up to buy one so they could use it in some elementary school bathroom. If/Once it does enter the public sector, some sort of device will be invented to detect/disable it. Every government official would carry one of these detection devices; if for no other reason, to protect national security. Expanding that argument, I don't think any technological device will give you the transparency you desire.

You can thank (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22139110)


this FASCIST [whitehouse.org] .

P.S: Tell President-VICE Ricard B. Cheney to FUCK OFF.

Re:Good bye privacy (2, Funny)

SueAnnSueAnn (998877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139158)

i just read the exibit was canceled.
The robotic fly was eaten by their robotic cat.

Re:Good bye privacy (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139424)

I dunno - I'm sure these will get smaller, but this thing has a 1.2 inch wingspan - thats a hurking big fly.

Re:Good bye privacy (1)

Henneshoe (987210) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140768)

Works well for spying in the Amazon!

Hunter-seeker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22140898)

How long before they build a hunter-seeker?

/.ed (1)

legoman666 (1098377) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138822)

That was quick. Extra text to take up time.

alternate URL: (1)

DeviceGuru (1136715) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140404)

in case the DeviceGuru story URL isn't working, please try this one [nyud.net] .

I don't know what kind of flies they have in NY... (2, Insightful)

davidbrit2 (775091) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138834)

...But a fly with a 1.2 inch wingspan would be pretty damn conspicuous where I come from.

No worries... (3, Funny)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138930)

They are coming out with an equivalent cockroach version in a couple of months. The next generation "fruit fly" model is expected to be available in late 2010.

Re:No worries... (1)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139142)

They are coming out with an equivalent cockroach version in a couple of months. The next generation "fruit fly" model is expected to be available in late 2010.

You can see the initial prototype here [penny-arcade.com] .

Re:I don't know what kind of flies they have in NY (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138960)

The summary said lifesize, so what about:

Horsefly, Dragonfly, or some of the ones on this list: http://www.whatsthatbug.com/flies.html [whatsthatbug.com]

Layne

Re:I don't know what kind of flies they have in NY (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139210)

Danny Dunn, Invisible Boy [wikipedia.org]

Danny exacerbates a small electrical fire, altering an experimental crystalline semiconductor material Dr. Bullfinch was evaluating. Dr. Bullfinch is able to use this altered material to create ISIT (the Invisibility Simulator with Intromittent Transmission), a dragonfly-like probe which could be piloted with a virtual reality helmet and gauntlet gloves.
-- first published in 1974

oh man (0)

noobstate (1224768) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138848)

i cant wait till im taking a piss and i see one of these little fuckers flying about knowing the government is watching over me incase a bear decides to fuck me in the back of the head while im dick in hand

awesome

n if they become really cheap and like stable and purchasable i cant wait to fly them over autonomously over the perimeter of ma house (aka moms basement) u know just encase robbers come to get me n shit

Re:oh man (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139134)

I doubt it will be the government trying to protect you from bears, it's more likely to be some guy on pervypeewatchers.com checking you out

Robofly/robot-humanoid teleporter accident (2, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138892)

I can't wait for the robot-themed remake of The Fly [imdb.com] .

But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22138900)

...aren't flys by definition supposed to ascend?

Re:But... (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139074)

Late at night in cars on certain corners throughout New York, flies descend en masse.

I for one... (0, Redundant)

ssrs396 (988442) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138912)

...welcome our robotic fly overlords!

Obligatory.... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22138918)

I , for one, welcome our robotic fly overlo.....

Aw, fuggit.

Re:Obligatory.... (1, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139082)

I, for one, welcome our duplicate comment overlords

Sarah Connor is pissed! (2, Funny)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138938)

She showed up the other day and put a few bullets in my Sony AIBO, My RoboSapien, and My LEGO mindstorm robot. She was mumbling something about a robot fly in NYC and skynet. I would be carefull you scientists, or she might be comming for you next.

Re:Sarah Connor is pissed! (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 6 years ago | (#22141286)

Thanks for the spoilers for the future Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles [fox.com] episode. [grin]

I've got $5 (or better, 5 Euros) that says.... (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138954)

Within 6 months, the Spy Store has a portable EMP generator to rid you of any flying spy devices. It will look like an odd cellphone and work like a radar gun that the police use.

zzzzzzZZZzzttttt and the 'fly' becomes a lay still and collect dust

EMP - just what we need in suburbia (1)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139758)

"zzzzzzZZZzzttttt and the 'fly' becomes a lay still and collect dust"

You can kiss goodbye all of your, and your neighbours' electronics (PC, phone, car, pacemaker)... ...and say hello to the lawsuit...

Re:EMP - just what we need in suburbia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22140492)

So it's good for the economy too, excellent!

The current method involving a Tesla coil and dynamite is expensive, noisy and detrimental to nearby human life...

Re:EMP - just what we need in suburbia (1)

jstoner (85407) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140586)

I just got a Deep Brain Stimulation implant [wikipedia.org] , for treatment of Muscular Dystonia. Seems like a bad idea to have EMP when there are people walking around with wires in their brains. Might be deadly--hard to say. At the very least expensive--replacing the implants is no fun. One of those situations where you better hope you kill me, because you'll be on the business end of a lawsuit.

Re:EMP - just what we need in suburbia (1)

icebones (707368) | more than 6 years ago | (#22141208)

scary thought, but I think your right. Also, what about people with pacemakers. Reminds me of the early scene of The Core. not something you want to have happening.

Site's dead...already!!! (1)

JKSN17 (956518) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138984)

The article has only been up for alittle over 10 minutes and it's already /.ed

Domestic "Fly" Surveillance (4, Funny)

Dareth (47614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138990)

They won't tell us when they start domestic "Fly" surveillance in the US. We will have to guess it will be sometime shortly before or after they outlaw flyswatters.

I hope I don't get billed for all the lost government property that is swallowed by my cats!

Re:Domestic "Fly" Surveillance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22140622)

Don't worry about it. Wind is still an unconquered challenge in this respect.

Re:Domestic "Fly" Surveillance (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140866)

Obvious solution to this problem: White House webcams.

Oblig. horror movie: (0)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22138996)

"Help me! Help me!"

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22141494)

The Jeff Goldblum version, not the Vincent Price version...

Cr@p! Sorry everyone! (5, Informative)

cliffiecee (136220) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139014)

I just tried to visit the site again and triggered the old 'Bandwidth Exceeded' message. My bad....

Yes, the little flybot does appear to work, although a) it's powererd externally, and b) it's on rails that only allow it to move vertically. The narrator of the video admits that [paraphrasing] "We're missing some things, like an independent, on-board electronics package to control it, and a suitable power source." Basically it's just a pair of (working) wings at this point.

Re:Cr@p! Sorry everyone! (2, Insightful)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139692)

Exactly. From the description of the more complicated systems they still have to develop, I think they'd be better off working on micro cameras that a fly can carry and developing a way to control the fly's behavior (where to fly, when to land,etc.). Something more like the cockroach in "Fifth Element."

Re:Cr@p! Sorry everyone! (4, Funny)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139704)

It's on rails? Why on earth haven't there been fifty Slashdot stories already?

Re:Cr@p! Sorry everyone! (1)

EB FE (1208132) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139770)

Wouldn't be too good for spying with all those wires leading to a van outside your house.

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

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22139016)

...welcome our new microrobotic fly overlords!

Oblig (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139024)

Customer: Waiter, what's this fly doing in my soup?

Waiter: Watching your every move.

A better showplace... (2, Interesting)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139030)

Maybe a better venue would be to show it at The Museum Of Modern Fascism.

On the other hand, your basic laws of scaling are going to be an effective law to limit the usefulness of these gadgets. The battery power goes down as the cube, while the air resistance is at least one power below that, so they're going to be mighty short-lived, like seconds rather than minutes.

Re:A better showplace... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22139246)

On the other hand, your basic laws of scaling are going to be an effective law to limit the usefulness of these gadgets. The battery power goes down as the cube, while the air resistance is at least one power below that, so they're going to be mighty short-lived, like seconds rather than minutes.
It's worth noting that a biological fly can keep going for a rather long time using only its internal energy store. What I mean is that there is no law of physics that prevents a device that small from having enough on-board energy to fly around for quite awhile (maybe an hour?), and also have on-board logic and recording capabilities.

Of course, I fully agree that modern micronization of batteries, circuits, and wings is not up to the task. This does put into perspective how spectacularly optimized biological organisms are. On the other hand, it suggests that eventually our technology may indeed be able to generate autonomous fly-sized surveillance devices.

Re:A better showplace... (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140002)

So why re-invent the wheel? I'd say you're better off learning how to "reprogram" flies by fiddling with their DNA than trying to re-invent the whole mechanism with silicon and aluminum.

The best benefit is that the tricky and expensive process of initial manufacture is taken care of for you, at very minimal cost (a warm box with water and sticky disgusting stuff to eat is all you need).

Re:A better showplace... (2, Interesting)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139254)

Keep in mind that another area of research that's getting attention at the moment is broadcast power--so you wouldn't have to have an onboard source, per se, but merely a collector to snag a couple microwatts from the local broadcast basestation. It'll probably take about as long for 'wireless' power like that to become popular as it'll take to develop an effective avionics package for the flybot, so that'll work out nicely.

Re:A better showplace... (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139968)

Yeah, but isn't your inverse square law going to kill you? I mean, unless you're sitting 100 meters away from your flybot, aiming a 6-inch microwave dish antenna at it, trying to look innocent...

Re:A better showplace... (1)

Boronx (228853) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140396)

Just wait until real flies evolve to live off of broadcast power.

Yay for robotic insect surveillance! (2, Interesting)

Chris Johnson (580) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139064)

I like this- I've written one of these into a book. I had it powered by a broadcast infrared beam aimed at it, and a character fools with it by blocking the beam, causes it to falter, and then is embarrassed because he was caught interfering with it while it was working :)

If the surveillance culture thing bothers you, keep working on cracker tech so we can always tap into the wireless signal and decode it. Information restriction is going to be impossible. Information parity is where it's at (though it's not going to be a gift- it's probably always going to be a captured prize.) This will tend to create an 'information serf class' which gets lied to by people who are confident they won't be able to sort out the truth.

Oh wait, got that. I mean in fields like medici.. oh wait. Well... more so :)

Oblig (-1, Redundant)

ats-tech (770430) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139066)

I too welcome our fly descending big brother overlords.

Now there's one for the record books (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139166)

...the first robotic fly that is able to generate enough thrust to takeoff.

If that one was the first it makes one wonder just how many robotic fly failures came before. And where are the spectacular crash videos? Like the ones from the early days of spaceflight.

Yes, a truly proud chapter in the technological advancement of mankind. The day scientists huddled around their robotic fly and it spread its tiny, robotic wings and generated enough thrust to launch itself into history!

Quick! We need to book Ron Howard to direct a movie about this amazing stride in mechanical locomotion. Kids everywhere will grow up dreaming of inventing even better robotic insects. Someone cast a commemorative coin!

Re:Now there's one for the record books (1)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139724)

Funny comments, but it makes me wonder. Isn't this really deserving of a world record for the smallest, mechanical device flying under its own power (as in thrust, not the external power source).

When it crashes ... (3, Funny)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139172)

... Your fly is down!

Life size? (2, Insightful)

captaindomon (870655) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139214)

Three centimeters wingspan is life-size? What kind of flies are they referring to? That's a pretty big fly. A real accomplishment would be a life-size, US house fly, ~0.5 centimeter wingspan.

Re:Life size? (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139450)

Three centimeters wingspan is life-size? What kind of flies are they referring to? That's a pretty big fly.

You should get out of the city more often. We swat 1-inch horseflies [wikipedia.org] whenever we see them, because they bite the horses (and us, if we're slow enough) and spread Equine Infectious Anemia [eqgroup.com] (aka "Swamp Fever", or frequently "Coggins" after the test used to detect it).

If someone saw an inch-and-a-half specimen, they'd just think it was a little overgrown. Of course, normally when you smash one they splatter blood (yours, or your horse's) all over the place. Not sure what an old-time horseman would do if it looked back at him with Terminator-style red eyes after a swattin'.

Re:Life size? (1)

rhartness (993048) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139592)

Have you ever seen a Horse-fly [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Life size? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22139852)

Yes, but I've hever seen a house fly!

Re:Life size? (1)

Mesa MIke (1193721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140356)

...they tell me that a man made a vegetable truck...
</Dumbo>

um.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22139276)

..they are probably running some kind of microsoft software cause thats one big ass fly!

Fly? (3, Funny)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139390)

the first robotic fly that is able to generate enough thrust to takeoff

So presumably its predecessors were called robotic walks then?

In all seriousness... (1)

Paranatural (661514) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139512)

This could end up being really interesting.

Crawling spider bots to check out the lays of buildings before the riot police go in, floating swimming robots to watch water pollution levels, I could even see them being used in pest prevention, using little robot drones to kill off unwanted pests. Sort of like Terminator, but for bugs.

The real question is how are they gonna power these suckers?

Re:In all seriousness... (1)

icebones (707368) | more than 6 years ago | (#22141174)

you mean like the ones they had in Minority Report?

The Character of Americans (2, Interesting)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139554)

I am sure the comments will be flooded with alarmists screeching about black helicopter secret governments. I have a different opinion.

I cannot imagine that any truly great surveillance technology (such as tiny robotic flies) won't be used for selfish purposes -- by all layers of American society. You know your manager wants to spy on you, why not spy on your manager if there's no chance of getting caught? Get some nice juicy dirt! Back-room dirty deals among politicians? It's on Youtube now!

It's hard to accept, but we're hurtling toward a privacy-free society, including corporate board-rooms, Congressional meetings, NDAs (forget em), and whatever you do in your garage on Thursday nights.

Re:The Character of Americans (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139802)

You know your manager wants to spy on you, why not spy on your manager if there's no chance of getting caught? Get some nice juicy dirt! Back-room dirty deals among politicians? It's on Youtube now!

We already know who the criminals are. It IS all on Youtube. The sad fact of the matter remains, however, that the bad guys have all the guns and write all the laws and hold all the prison keys.

The criminals are still running the show and the jails are overwhelmingly filled with poor people. And anyway, robot flies are silly when you can listen in on conversations on the other side of the city using the array of other various technologies which have been around for years now.

Sorry. I recognize that your post is meant to be hopeful, but I think the solutions lie in other areas.


-FL

The end of privacy (1)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139824)

Hmm. Interesting idea

Who would be prepared to sacrifice their personal privacy if it meant that all political/coporate interactions were public knowledge? Bribary, embezzlement, collusion... all could see the light of day..

Hell, if that happened we might even get a free market!

Unfortunately, I expect it might be a more one-sided loss of privacy in practice.

Re:The Character of Americans (1)

CompMD (522020) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140400)

No, the character of Americans is better expressed by saying, "I'll do whatever I want in my garage on Thursday nights, and if you have a problem with it, you can take it up with my HERF gun or my Glock."

Yes, I am an American.

Re:The Character of Americans (1)

Henneshoe (987210) | more than 6 years ago | (#22141134)

Or you could just put a large Faraday Cage [wikipedia.org] around your entire house. That should stop those pesky RC bugs.

The Diamond Age... (1)

Glog (303500) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139668)

... is slowly descending upon us.

Dragonfly (1)

rindeee (530084) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139840)

Considering CIA built a working dragonfly *INT platform back in the 70's (scrapped due to poor performance in even the slightest breeze), I suspect that this is but the latest (publicly disclosed) generation of such devices currently in use.

The Tangible Reality of the Technology (5, Interesting)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 6 years ago | (#22139844)

You can call it "crap" all you want - but guess what! This technology is really on its way - is very real and tangible

I'm both an engineer and an R/C heli/airplane fan - and I've been pretty amazed at the kind of stuff that's been coming available over just the last few years - and I'm not talking "scientific research" but even commercial products you can find at your local hobby store or mall.

Lets look:

Batteries Crazy advances in odd things like Li-Po batteries and "supercaps" which are very light, small, and can charge very quickly.

Motors Brushless electric motors with much greater power and efficiency. People are literally ripping their gas engines out of their 60-sized helis and replacing them with electric motors and batteries!

Radios Spread-Spectrum radios which provide operation free of glitches and interference.

Wireless Video Probibly because of the new CCD stuff from WebCams and the like - there are a billion wireless video "toys" out even for little kids - RC cars with "spy cameras", VEX robotic kits, etc.

Gyros They keep getting better and better - cheaper and cheaper -helping with stability

Servos Or the lack of 'em! glue a tiny neodyme magnet on a piece of foam and wrap a wire around it a couple times to control you control surface! They sell tiny foam RC planes based on this

Stable Helis Counter-rotating helis that are extremely stable - allowing a complete novice to fly indoors quickly. You can even buy one a Brookstones for $29!

And of course the radios and electronics are of course getting smaller and more integrated. This is an amaizing time for this kind of stuff - I can't wait to see what the next few years will bring!

Re:The Tangible Reality of the Technology (1)

DebianDog (472284) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140382)

If you want to learn how to actually use gyros and fly these things with spread spectrum... we are all on http://helifreak.com/ [helifreak.com]

Re:The Tangible Reality of the Technology (1)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140476)

It's amazing stuff.

This robotic fly has almost none of it. The little fly doesn't even have a control system. It's about as meaningful as a propeller that can't even support its own fuel. There aren't even control surfaces.

The guys who put it together must be embarrassed at the media attention. Cool device, but not revolutionary or anything.

The Big Brother issue is a minor. (1)

EddyPearson (901263) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140150)

All the privicy issues inherent with this clever peice of $300,000+ machinary can be defeated through the cunning use of those electrified tennis rackets.

Alternate story URL (1)

DeviceGuru (1136715) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140238)

in case the DeviceGuru URL isn't working, try this one [nyud.net]

The Deus Machine (1)

darkuncle (4925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140268)

if you haven't read it, you should go give Pierre Oulette's first novel a shot ... it's a little dated on some of the technology concepts, but some of the biotech/GE stuff is still beyond us for the foreseeable future. If you find the idea of robot (or better yet, cyborg) flies or even larger, stranger creatures interesting (especially when designed/powered by a sentient AI), you would probably enjoy the book. Read it back when I was in high school, and just ordered a copy from Amazon to fill an empty spot in my bookshelf ...

Re:The Deus Machine (1)

darkuncle (4925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140310)

s/Oulette/Ouellette/g

pardon my French ...

Annoying (1)

planckscale (579258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22140278)

Forget using these things for surveillance, if we really want to get rid of insurgents, just annoy the fuck out of them with these bugs. Send a swarm of these heat/smell seekers into a town and watch as the muj's throw down their arms just to keep the little buggers out of their eyes, ears, nose, mouth and "other" orifices.

Video Link (1)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 6 years ago | (#22141058)

Here is an unslahdotted video [mrcopilot.com] link.

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