TOPIC: Really small, flying robot that can make quick decisions.
Technology, Entrepreneurship, Society, Arts
FINDING: “Dutch scientists have developed the world’s smallest autonomous flapping drone, a dragonfly-like beast with 3-D vision that could revolutionise our experience of everything from pop concerts to farming.”
IMPLICATIONS: This technology has been developing for years but never before has it been this small or this smart. A “bug” that can fly around, potentially unnoticed, “seeing” what we see and recording data; a bug that can go into places where “radio control would be impossible”. It sounds like something from the movie Mission Impossible.
Beyond some of the less complex uses of this technology, such as spotting ripe fruit in a greenhouse or dressed up as Tinkerbell at Disneyland, it could be used to “spy” on people, record conversations and video record events happening behind closed doors where conventional (and legal by today’s standard) methods would be impossible.
This could have a serious influence on the laws surrounding the collection of evidence and it’s admissibility in court, among other areas. The DelFly could be the future undercover police officer, replacing the need to put people in harm’s way. As crimes become more complex, our laws and ways of enforcing them will need to also change in order to remain effective. The DelFly could be a useful tool in this way.
“The Explorer has its own small lithium polymer battery that allows it to fly for around nine minutes, while it “sees” with its onboard processor and a specially-developed algorithm to make instant decisions.”
“Over the next few years, research continued and the machine became smaller and smaller, said Sjoerd Tijmons, 28, who helped write the algorithm for the latest DelFly Explorer’s “brain”.”
“But De Croon admits that humans are not quite able to produce swarms of autonomous robotic insects the size of bees or flies, mainly because of restrictions on battery life.”