Calif. Company Hides Spy Drome in Remote Controlled Bird

There's a new spy flying into town

By Sonali Kohli
|  Thursday, Feb 17, 2011  |  Updated 2:48 PM PDT
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AeroVironment

The Pentagon's new Nano Hummingbird is a tiny flying machine that could be used in spy missions, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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Birdwatchers, beware -- the roles might be switched soon.

The Pentagon has a new toy to play with, and it might be watching you. The Nano Hummingbird is a tiny flying machine that could be used in spy missions, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Project Agency has given the Southern California company AeroVironment $4 million over the past five years to develop the robotic device, the newspaper reported.

AeroVironment touts the bird weighs just 19 grams, which is less than a AA battery and has a wingspan of 6.5 inches. It's remote-controlled and can fly for about eight minutes at 11 miles per hour, flying from indoors to outdoors and able to perform a range of motions from hovering to flying in pretty much any direction.

And the whole time, a camera inside can record everything.

Researched developed the nanotechnology using biomimicry, a method that copies nature to build machines, according to the L.A. Times.

At some point the hummingbird might be able to fly through open windows or sit on power lines, allowing its controllers to listen and watch without anyone's knowledge, according to the newspaper.

"The miniaturization of drones is where it really gets interesting," defense expert Peter W. Singer told the newspaper. "You can use these things anywhere, put them anyplace, and the target will never even know they're being watched."

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