The CIA’s amazing bots

When you have a virtually unlimited budget, you can pull off some amazing things. This has become most evident recently as the CIA has been showing off some of its old tech. That dragonfly you see above is near life-size and actually flies. They hired a watch maker to build a tiny internal combustion engine to run it. That alone is pretty amazing, but this thing was actually flying in the 70’s. Upon further inspection of the wings, we actually have no idea how this sucker is supposed to fly. Despite our skeptical viewpoint, you can see a tiny clip of it flying after the break.  You can also catch a video of “charlie” the robot catfish.

[via Botjunkie]

56 thoughts on “The CIA’s amazing bots

  1. @Blue Footed Booby

    that kind of propaganda is also called by another name – “american exceptionalism”

    you’re pretty naive if you think the only kind of propaganda the USA puts out is for use against other nations :)

  2. I believe that this may have not been true at the time, but today this tech most certainly exists, I’ve read about these many times now. On a side note, I hate to use a piece of fiction as a credible source, but the author Dan Brown claims that when he writes about technologies in his book Deception Point – that these do “exist” as described in the book as a fly not a dragonfly. However, Dan’s book is “debunked” and this web site is saying that the micro fly Dan Brown wrote about doesn’t exist, but these dragonflies do. heh…

  3. LOL – I know this is a reply to an old posting but… The CIA Dragonfly Insectohopter was very real. They never said it was used operationally. The damned thing was also too noisy to do any stealth but the MQ-1 Predator today is noisy too. The laser tracking system was follow-the-dot with a NASA monopulse light detector. The laser was HeNe and had a long duty cycle. The mechanism was a small gasoline engine with a cam drive to the spring loaded plastic wings. Electric power was supplied by He cells. But no listening device payload was ever deployed. The thing really was very impractical. Austrian watchmakers could miniaturize ANYTHING back then.

    But there was OTHER similar projects that also failed like the Acoustic Kitty. A real cat embedded with a listening device. Maiden voyage was run over by a taxi cab in Wash DC.

    The Russians really amazed us with the microwave passive cavity-resonator US Great Seal bug at our embassy in Moscow back in 1961. That thing is STILL state-of-the-art. But we (i.e. America) are doing \”stuff\” with lasers and optical metamaterials that are even more amazing.

    Now the microUAV-drones are otherworldly. The Israelis have killer wasps, we have spy-roaches, flies, moths, hummingbirds, beetles, fish, and small manroid soldier/spies.

    So the story wasn\’t propaganda. We (Americans) could do much more amazing things* back then. The standing rumor is the guberment\’ is always 25 years ahead of civilian technology. Civilians just get stuff given to them called \”technology transfer\” – like the Internet? (i.e. remember ArpaNet).

    Just watch

    *Amazing 1960\’s (Cold War) things: Infrared-light 2-way binocular secret communicators… based on NAZI device used secretly in WW2 and even farther back to late 1800\’s by Alexander Graham Bell!

    BTW that Monkey Turd mentioned above? That was another amazing device. It was called a TURDSID (TURD-Seismic Intrusion Detector). They were dropped all around Vietnam during the war to detect enemy troop and vehicle movements. They transmitted around 149 Mhz a coded signal which was picked up and displayed on a big board at HQ.

    Also there was the SFR (same frequency repeater) developed in Vietnam War. It used a Motorola VHF transceiver that switched back and forth from rcv to xmt at a high rate of speed. Therefore it could repeat everything it heard on the SAME frequency. It was sent aloft on a He balloon and it worked well. The secret trick was desensing it\’s receiver from it\’s own transmitter without using a bulky duplexer. It was quite simple but elegant. The technique is now still used in cell phones and radar sets today.

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