Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


This is coolbert: National Geographic II.

More from that June 2006 issue of the National Geographic magazine.

An item germane to a previous blog entry.

As was said by Admiral Parry:

"Parry . . . Foresees wholesale moves by the armed forces to robots, drones, nanotechnology, lasers, microwave weapons, space-based systems, "customized" nuclear and neutron bombs."

"Robots". "Drones".

From that Geographic magazine issue, it seems that the fly is a constant source of amazement to scientists and is a key research topic:

"the common housefly is the most talented aerodynamicist on the planet, superior to any bird, bat, or bee . . . And it has a brain smaller than a sesame seed . . . Scientists, engineers, and military researchers want to know how creatures with such small brains can do that. Maybe they can reverse engineer a fly to make a robotic device that could reconnoiter dangerous places [such as battlefields]."

Flies, possessing ONLY [??] a dozen muscles for maneuvering, are able to do what they do by harnessing the input from a variety of sensors such as:

* Two equilibrium organs on their backs that function as gyroscopes.

* Compound eyes that allow for panoramic vision.

* Wind sensitive hairs and antennae.

* Three light sensors [ocelli] on the top of their heads.

Flies process the data and, "boil it down to a few basic commands, such as 'go left', 'go right'."

I am sure that the military researchers want to produce a micro-flying machine that can be used for intelligence operations. Flood a battlefield with thousands or tens of thousands of dragon-fly sized machines that can provide data in real-time to produce actionable intelligence. A combination of micro-mechanics, nano-technology, and an understanding of HOW FLIES FLY will make this possible!!

"Our country is at war in an unfamiliar territory, and a battle is about to begin...However, the enemy doesn't know that its every move is being monitored by robotic insects equipped with tiny cameras, flying overhead...called micro air vehicles (MAVs)...dime-sized flying robots...The Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding several research teams to develop MAVs...One class designed to mimic the flying motions of...flies, bees and dragonflies"



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