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Dragonflies or robot spies? October 11, 2007

Posted by Al in : robots,weird , trackback

Protestors at an anti-war rally in Washington last month believe they were spied on by flying robot insects. These robot spies looked a lot like dragonflies, but were larger than usual, appeared metallic and seemed to be watching the crowd. Rumours have since grown that the US government was watching, and recording the protestors and people are worried about violation of their civil rights.

Me? I think they were probably just dragonflies. Wonderful creatures, dragonflies; and they can very easily appear metallic as they often have an iridescent colouring. They are also amazingly good flyers – able to hover with ease, cruise smoothly and gently and then suddenly dart off at tremendous pace and with sudden changes of direction. When I was a child we used to go camping near the river Wye, and I’d often spend ages watching dragonflies flashing across the water, catching gnats and midges. Some of those I watched back then were surprisingly large, and could startle you with the way an insect 4 to 6 inches long could travel so fast and easily.

Robots are not as agile as the real thing yet, nor do they look as natural either. You can see one of this years best flying insects here. Whilst it is very clever, and flies for 50 seconds on one charge, it could hardly be mistaken for a dragonfly – even from a distance.


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