US Spy Flies To Gain New Eyes

Illustration for article titled US Spy Flies To Gain New Eyes

New miniature camera technology may be about to give the US military's insect-sized surveillance drones a new way of seeing the world that's more energy-conscious than before. Yay, technology?

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New Scientist reports that a new microchip-sized digital camera, developed by the California Institute of Technology using funding from NASA and the Pentagon, has been patented and is expected to replace current camera technology on the tiny spy drones. According to the article, the revolutionary aspect of the design is that the new size means that the main power drain on existing minicams - connecting the chips for the sensors and support circuitry - is no longer necessary, making the new remote controlled camera use much less energy, and therefore be more suited for secret surveillance missions. I'm not sure how I feel about this news, not least of all because I didn't even know that the US military even had insect-sized surveillance drones before.

Spying roboflies to get minicam eyes [New Scientist]

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DISCUSSION

ghost-in-the-machine
Ghost in the Machine

Does we have to go straight to paranoid? There are plenty of legitimate military/law enforcement uses for this.

If a soldier in the field wants to see what's in the village ahead, he can sent one of these out to take a look without revealing his presence. If the control unit is small too this could be something every squad could carry.

In hostage situations the police could fly one in to recon and find out where the bad guys and hostages are before SWAT goes in.

Will it end up being abused by an over zealous government? Probably. But it still has useful legitimate application.