aerial vehicles" - no larger than a common house fly - are currently
being developed by the US military and could enter mass production later
could be used in spying missions, recording and transmitting audio-visual
information. An individual robot would serve as a literal "fly
on the wall" - equipped with miniature cameras, microphones, modem
and GPS. Many terrorist cells could be infiltrated thanks to this radical
the major technical hurdles will be creating sufficient battery power
in such a small object, as well as keeping them light enough to remain
airborne. Advances in nanotechnology may solve this problem. Together
with improvements in computing power, this would allow circuitry and
components to be packed more closely.
versions might be developed for assassin roles. These would have capsules
in the abdomen of the insect, filled with cyanide or another lethal
toxin. This would be delivered to the target via a small needle capable
of piercing human skin.
might work in groups, forming networks to extend their range and abilities.
Further into the future, enormous swarms of these machines might be
deployed on the battlefield.
concerns may be raised as to how this technology affects the safety
and security of citizens.
is a project funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
(DARPA) in the hopes that it will one day serve as a robotic pack mule
- accompanying soldiers in terrain too rough for conventional vehicles.
of wheels or treads, BigDog uses four legs for movement, allowing it
to move across surfaces that would defeat wheels. The legs contain a
variety of sensors, including joint position and ground contact. BigDog
also features a laser gyroscope and stereo vision system.
stable, quadruped robot could be deployed in military support roles
within the next five or so years. It would be capable of running at
5 mph (8 km/h), while carrying loads up to 340 pounds (150 kg) and climbing
slopes with 35° inclines. This would greatly reduce the burden of
equipment for soldiers.*