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Snowflake
10-08-2006, 09:57 AM
:sl:



British military scientists are developing robot flies that can be sent in swarms to spy out enemy positions.

The idea sounds like nightmarish science fiction, but project leader Dr Rafal Zbikowski believes the first machine insects could be buzzing around his lab within seven to 10 years.

He has already produced a non-airborne prototype that mimics the wing beats of a hover fly.

Unlike conventional unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), Dr Zbikowski's tiny winged drones could operate in confined and cluttered spaces within buildings, stairwells, tunnels or caves.

They would be invaluable for rooting out hidden terrorists, or - with more peaceful roles in mind - helping to locate victims of natural disasters such as earthquakes. Industrial applications could involve inspecting chemical pipes or mines.

The US military, which is partly funding the research, has even expressed an interest in using the robots to deliver small explosive charges.

They would be the ultimate "smart" weapon, able to destroy a specifically chosen target - such as a computer - without having to bomb whole buildings.

Dr Zbikowski is based at the Defence College of Management and Technology at Cranfield University in Shrivenham, Oxfordshire.

His work has a wide range of funding support, including the Ministry of Defence, the US military, and the US space agency Nasa.

He expected the robot flies to be electrically powered and largely autonomous rather than remotely operated. That would allow swarms of the devices to operate in cluttered environments where they cannot be seen.




:w:
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Trumble
10-08-2006, 10:23 AM
The 'British military' can't even get Chinook helicopters to work properly, let alone develop something out of 'science fiction'!

Don't hold your breath. Or indeed fly swatter.
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Snowflake
10-08-2006, 10:48 AM
^:giggling: Well they did say 'in ten years time'. So who knows by then they might even have got the helicopters sorted.
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Muezzin
10-08-2006, 12:47 PM
In ten years time, I want a 'Back to the Future' hoverboard.
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Keltoi
10-08-2006, 03:17 PM
I can see a terrible scenario where the British government actually perfects this "fly" technology. It is used in the next U.S./U.K coalition war, but something strange occurs. The "flies" begin to replicate and disobey program functions. Their numbers grow by the thousands each second...and the swarm is coming for you.

Okay, I'm alright now.
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Fishman
10-08-2006, 03:23 PM
Originally Posted by Keltoi
I can see a terrible scenario where the British government actually perfects this "fly" technology. It is used in the next U.S./U.K coalition war, but something strange occurs. The "flies" begin to replicate and disobey program functions. Their numbers grow by the thousands each second...and the swarm is coming for you.

Okay, I'm alright now.
:sl:
I doubt they would make them self-replicating, I don't know a good purpose for that. But there is that problem with nanomachines though.
:w:
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Muezzin
10-08-2006, 03:53 PM
Oh, I know where I've seen these 'Robot flies'! In the 'Richie Rich' movie!

Except in that it's a bee or a wasp.
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DaNgErOuS MiNdS
10-08-2006, 03:59 PM
LOL I guess their enemies better arm themselves with fly nets and net fences.
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