Quick, Henry, the Flit!
July 22, 2008 2:37 PM   Subscribe

Continuing the miniaturization of earlier designs, researchers at the Technical University of Delft have created a very tiny ornithopter which carries a one half gram video camera. The DelFly micro.

Videos of the DelFly I and II are available here.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth (17 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Here, actually.

What percentage of the readers of this post are going to get that title?
posted by DU at 2:45 PM on July 22, 2008

I don't know what's going on. The videos are not available here. And... for the last two links on the FP, click on 'home' and then 'media'. Try pasting in http://www.lr.tudelft.nl/live/pagina.jsp?id=6068c9ca-081f-47eb-87bc-2097f097b945&lang=en for the for the DelFly I and II videos. (Everything worked in preview. I'm sorry; I'll contact the admins.)
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 2:47 PM on July 22, 2008

I got it.

That little machine looks so much like early gliders by Lillienthal. It's neat to see the most modern of designs still look like the most primitive.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:49 PM on July 22, 2008

Thank you, DU. Everyone please follow DU's link. What happened?
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 2:53 PM on July 22, 2008

Ted Giesel gets it, too.
posted by Aquaman at 3:04 PM on July 22, 2008

I want about a hundred of these. With the right software controlling them, you could do some really neat things like surrounding an object and having them all photograph it at the exact same moment. With a bit of creativity, you could do all sorts of nifty, near real time, stop motion, bullet time stuff.

Also, little robotic dragonflies are just freakin' cool.
posted by quin at 3:09 PM on July 22, 2008

Three minutes of flight time is pretty impressive for that tiny little thing.

These are sort of the Holy Grail of UAVs right now, I think. Lightweight, quiet, unobtrusive - a solider or operative could carry one in his pocket and fly it right in to a building, land it somewhere out of the way, and you now have an intelligence source inside an otherwise impenetrable building.

DARPA's all over these things like flies on shit.
posted by backseatpilot at 3:35 PM on July 22, 2008

What percentage of the readers of this post are going to get that title?

Worked for me, but I'm kind of a Suessy.

Also: where can I order a swarm of these?
posted by rokusan at 3:39 PM on July 22, 2008

Looks like MetaFilter converted "&lang" in the URL to a left angle bracket. DU's link just leaves that part out. But shouldn't the formatting code go for ⟨?

Sounds like something for the admins, for sure.
posted by lostburner at 3:46 PM on July 22, 2008

These are sort of the Holy Grail of UAVs right now, I think.

Until you can get three or four megapixels out of the onboard camera, I'll stick with the larger (louder) 'copters.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:21 PM on July 22, 2008

These are cool.

And here's the explanation of the title, for the denser MeFites like myself.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:13 PM on July 22, 2008

Oh, sure, the future of privacy is horrifying, but at least the future of geeky Christmas Day gadgets is pretty promising.
posted by Skwirl at 11:02 PM on July 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

there was a kids book about this...does anyone remember it? one of those precocious kids/scientist father books where the kid fucks up some stuff and it becomes a wonder material that allows for super-miniturized electronics and the dad uses it to make a fake dragonfly. what was that book? jesus...where's my memory?

anyway, nowadays i'm pretty much of the opinion that this is a Bad Thing. ...too many freakin cameras everywhere, yo. ...'with more detailed information about the present, predictions of the future become more accurate. with more accurate predictions of the future, free will begins to vanish.) welcome to the future!
posted by sexyrobot at 11:07 PM on July 22, 2008

there was a kids book about this...does anyone remember it?

You are thinking of Danny Dunn, in particular the Invisible Boy book. (I had the same one, plus the Anti-Gravity Paint one. I loved those books as a kid but I haven't dared read them since then because they undoubtedly suck. I bet my kids would love them, though.)
posted by DU at 6:20 AM on July 23, 2008

The Danny Dunn books were the early inspiration that eventually led me to years of graduate school and a PhD. Danny Dunn has a lot to answer for.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 7:33 AM on July 23, 2008

Mea Culpa. The title was funny, I though.....well.....no, I didn't.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 8:10 AM on July 23, 2008

Well, thanks for the Danny Dunn mention... I read several of those as a kid. That led me to do some more poking around through Wikipedia, and I ended up at The Winston Science Fiction series. with that great Alex Schomburg endpaper art -- which is now my current computer desktop.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:46 AM on July 23, 2008

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