Oh no! Run away! The Washington Post reports that people at anti-war rallies are reporting being bugged. Or rather, being watched by bugs. Or something.
Vanessa Alarcon saw them while working at an antiwar rally in Lafayette Square last month.
"I heard someone say, 'Oh my god, look at those,' " the college senior from New York recalled. "I look up and I'm like, 'What the hell is that?' They looked kind of like dragonflies or little helicopters. But I mean, those are not insects."
Out in the crowd, Bernard Crane saw them, too.
"I'd never seen anything like it in my life," the Washington lawyer said. "They were large for dragonflies. I thought, 'Is that mechanical, or is that alive?' "
That is just one of the questions hovering over a handful of similar sightings at political events in Washington and New York. Some suspect the insectlike drones are high-tech surveillance tools, perhaps deployed by the Department of Homeland Security.
Others think they are, well, dragonflies — an ancient order of insects that even biologists concede look about as robotic as a living creature can look.
No agency admits to having deployed insect-size spy drones. But a number of U.S. government and private entities acknowledge they are trying. Some federally funded teams are even growing live insects with computer chips in them, with the goal of mounting spyware on their bodies and controlling their flight muscles remotely.
There are some really fascinating examples of some of the various projects going on at a number of labs on micro flying robots. The article is worth a read just for that. Gadget freaks will get a kick out of some of them. The real problem with things like this is simple – power. The amount of energy they can carry in whatever form is limited and so, therefore, are their range and effectiveness. That is going to be, I suspect, the real limiting factor in really using things like this. There will be uses – the development efforts show that there is serious attention being paid the the potential usefulness of such devices. But we really want to assure our friends on the left that there is nothing to fear. You are not being watched. These are not the 'droids you are looking for.