Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Military develops flying hummingbird spy cameras

Reseachers have recently unveiled a small robot that looks like a hummingbird and flies like a hummingbird, but is sure a hell of lot more expensive than a hummingbird.

Darpa, one of the technology arms of the Pentagon, has just recently given AeroVironment, the makers of the hummingbird drone, a hefty $2.1 million to continue development of the hummingbird spy cam.

The current model can stay aloft for about 20-seconds at a time. It’s a small timeframe, but it does validate the possibility of constructing robots themed for nature that can actually serve functions that can be useful in tight situations. Like, well, spying.

Darpa ultimately wants “an approximately 10-gram aircraft that can hover for extended periods, can fly at forward speeds up to 10 meters per second, can withstand 2.5-meter-per-second wind gusts.” The little bugger should also be operable indoors, and from up to a kilometer away.

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