Insect DroneA butterfly drone weighing a mere 20 grams is the latest spy gadget to come out of Israel, and it is creating quite a stir with its ability to go inside of a building to gather intelligence, something that was not possible for a drone in the past.
The spy butterfly UAV is able to take color photos with its featherweight camera and can operate like a helicopter by taking off vertically and hovering. It would be very useful during ground combat where a soldier can easily carry and deploy it behind enemy lines.
Remotely operated using a special helmet, the spy drone provides a real time feed of everything it observes, which can be seen as a cockpit view by the wearer. It would be an excellent surveillance tool for buildings, airports and train stations.
The insect drone makes almost no sound as its wings flap 14 times each second. Its size places it somewhere between a small natural butterfly and a large moth, and it is nearly translucent in appearance. During testing, the device drew the attention of flies and birds, which flew behind it in formation.
IAI, the Israeli manufacturer that created the butterfly, claims it needs another two years to perfect the device. Other similar models from IAI that have been put to recent use are the 500 gram Mosquito and the four kilogram Ghost. The trend seems to be toward smaller drone sizes.
Butterfly drones are a big step forward for intelligence technology with military, police and various secret services showing great interest. How the devices will change civilian life remains to be seen.
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