“A life-size, robotic fly has taken flight at Harvard University. Weighing only 60 milligrams, with a wingspan of three centimeters, the tiny robot's movements are modeled on those of a real fly. While much work remains to be done on the mechanical insect, the researchers say that such small flying machines could one day be used as spies, or for detecting harmful chemicals.
‘Nature makes the world's best fliers,’ says Robert Wood, leader of Harvard's robotic-fly project and a professor at the university's school of engineering and applied sciences.
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA] is funding Wood's research in the hope that it will lead to stealth surveillance robots for the battlefield and urban environments. The robot's small size and fly-like appearance are critical to such missions. ‘You probably wouldn't notice a fly in the room, but you certainly would notice a hawk,’ Wood says.”
Watch the fly take off.
See the wing move in slow motion.
Of course, a reasonable person might wonder why an agency would go to the trouble to launch a swarm of super-technologically-advanced (and presumably super expensive) robotic insects to hover over a public anti-war rally, when it could get better information by, say, sending in people pretending to be participants in the anti-war rally.
They all described seeing a row of spheres the size of small berries attached along the tails of the "dragonflies".
They also reported seeing at least three together. Mr Louton said that dragonflies never fly in a pack.
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