New micro “drones” could carry cameras & microphones

The U.S. government is eyeing the idea of turning bugs – genuine live creepy-crawlies – into spies, thanks to the work of micro researchers at the University of Michigan.

According to results published in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, Professor Khalil Najafi, chairman of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Michigan, and doctoral student Erkan Aktakka are finding ways to harvest energy from insects.

The stated intention is to use insects as first responders for disasters, but the technology also is likely to usher in a new era for intelligence gathering.

Researchers have found insects get their energy from the food they eat and then use that energy to fly. In the process, some of the energy is wasted. The Michigan research team has exploited the wasted energy by attaching tiny electrical generators to the wings of the insect. The energy harvested could be further increased by using tiny solar cells on the tops of the wings.

“Through energy scavenging, we could potentially power cameras, microphones and other sensors and communications equipment that an insect could carry aboard a tiny backpack,” Najafi said. “We could then send these ‘bugged’ bugs into dangerous or enclosed environments where we would not want humans to go.”

While the university’s goal is for insects to be used in hazardous situations where it would not be safe for humans, the military is interested in the technology to further the dream of designing and fabricating micro-air-vehicles, or MAVs.


that annoying blowfly might be a drone..swat hard 🙂


~ by seeker401 on December 12, 2011.

7 Responses to “New micro “drones” could carry cameras & microphones”

  1. I saw these over at PhysOrg years ago; DARPA has been working on these since at least the mid 2000s: evil. China has also been working on cyborg animals for a very long time:

  2. I am constantly dazzled and amazed at what in the height of our civilization, which is usually measured by the state of art of its plumbing to flush down the shit in our lives, what mankind can accomplish and the endless list of our ridiculous priorities. In the absence of wholesale slaughter of humanity in our many and reacuring wars, we are making spy robotons out of insects. Why don’t we just dismiss the small stuff and give man wings and a cellphone to buzz a round overhead. Besides, these insect drones can be taken down by a…$1.99 Flyswatter. Makes sense. Give me a break.

  3. Brings a whole new meaning to “Bugged”

  4. […] New micro “drones” could carry cameras & microphones ( […]

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