Why is that Dragonfly Staring at Me?

Today's Washington Post has an interesting article and some neat video on the new class of insect-sized robotic spy cameras, some looking like dragonflies. The CIA tried this 30 years ago, according to the article, but gave up: seems the insectothopter couldn't be controlled in a cross-wind.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding a Hybrid Insect Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems Project, which "is aimed at developing tightly coupled machine-insect interfaces by placing micro-mechanical systems inside the insects during the early stages of metamorphosis."

Some protesters at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York claim they saw what looked like a dragonfly-like object suspiciously hovering as if spying on them. Law enforcement claims to know nothing about it, and an entomologist says that it was probably just a dragonfly.

However, the entomologist also says dragonflies don't fly in packs. So, if you see a bunch of dragonflies just kind of hanging around ...


Risk Factor

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Robert Charette
Spotsylvania, Va.
Willie D. Jones
New York City