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Unmanned systems 2014 – The next generation of intelligence gathering systems.
Reality is stranger than fiction, especially due to several amazing technological advancements, such as miniaturization that would have been considered science fiction only a decade ago.
Israel Aerospace Industries is developing an unmanned aerial vehicle that will fly by rapidly flapping its wings like an insect, or a butterfly. IAI is not the only one developing these tiny drones that mimic insect flight. Meanwhile there are also ongoing efforts to use real insects for intelligence gathering.
In the United States researchers are developing tiny electronic systems that can be implanted into living insects.
U.S. research agency DARPA is developing insects that can carry out military missions. The goal is to implant living insects with tiny electronic and mechanical implants, allowing operators to remotely control the insect and carry out explosives detection or espionage missions. A radio signal will activate the implant, directing the insect towards its target.
The implant will include microscopic sensors for explosives detection and tiny cameras or microphones for espionage. “Electronics and optics have become so advanced that they’re capable of producing these sensors at almost any size,” said one expert.
The goal of the American scientists is to implant the microscopic systems at the pupal stage of an insect – a butterfly, for example – so that the insect will reach full growth with the implant already inside its body. DARPA researchers focus on butterflies, moths and dragonflies, all insects that begin their lives as larva, later entering the pupal stage and emerging as adults.
There’s still some disagreement on whether the insects can be directed precisely enough to carry out military missions, but the experiments continue.
In the past there have been attempts to install various sensors on birds. Experts seem to think these recent experiments in the U.S. are interesting. DARPA is a government research agency, and according to one expert its researchers believe that a remotely controlled insect is viable.
There’s no doubt that tiny drones are currently being developed in several places around the world, drones that could infiltrate buildings, record video images and transmit audio. Miniaturization has led to significant advancements in intelligence gathering.
The question has to be asked, though, how does all this affect us – simple. non combatant civilians – and our privacy? It’s a growing problem, but progress comes at a cost.