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Microdrones

Continuing on the WaPo story about demonstrators at the Sept 15 antiwar march and rally in D.C. seeing unusual flying objects, an entomologist was quoted saying they could have been the “large, spectacularly adorned dragonflies” common to the area, but could not explain independent reports that the objects had spheres on their tails and flew in unison.

I saw them too, they had flapping wings and indeed were spectacular. While flapping wing technology may seem difficult to do, it in fact does exist.

insectothopter. CIA, circa 1970’s

CIA Insectothopter, late 19070’s. It flew, but couldn’t handle crosswinds.

Delfly I

Delfly I, 2005. Developed by students at Delft University. It has a video camera and video transmitter. If students can do this, imagine what well-funded governmental entities could develop.

Variants on these include the entomopter, a flapping, four-winged robotic flier and crawler and the ornithopter, available on hobbyist sites.

Microdrone

This microdrone is commercially available from a German firm, is specifically made to do video surveillance, and is being used by British law enforcement. (Tip: John Couzin)

The ANSWER Coalition has filed FOIA requests to see if such surveillance was done on Sept. 15. Law enforcement routinely has video squads filming during protests both on the ground and from rooftops, something which apparently is quite legal, so these creepy spy-in-the-sky drones (if used) might be too. But, it’s certainly worth a court challenge to see if peaceful antiwar protesters are routinely being surveilled.

Hmmm. Hackers, start your engines. Perhaps we need to develop our own drones to monitor protests, looking for and recording instances of governmental drones. Maybe drones could be developed to seek-and-destroy other drones, raising the exciting possibility of micro warfare in the skies above the next mass antiwar protest.

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