31 Dec '17, 1pm

Meet the #CIA’s Insectothopter https://t.co/bVPgU8OjO7

It was the 1970s, the Cold War was in full swing, and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s Office of Research and Development had developed a miniaturized listening device. But they didn’t have a good way to maneuver the device into place without raising suspicions. After scrapping the idea of a mechanical bumblebee, CIA engineers prototyped a dragonfly to carry the bug. Dubbed the Insectothopter , the bug-carrying bug was the agency’s first insect-size unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and it seemed to show potential. Under ideal conditions, it had a range of 200 meters and a flight time of 60 seconds. Photo: CIA Museum Flight Kit: The propulsion system for the Insectothopter was based around a miniature fluidic oscillator, which moved the wings up and down to mimic a real dragonfly’s flight. In taking a cue from nature, CIA engineers were wise to choose the dragonfly. Dra...

Full article: https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-history/heroic-failures/me...

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