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Paranoia or patriotism: Government agency develops tiny Nano Hummingbird spy bot


Another example of the line between man and machine, or more specifically, bird and machine, has blurred even further with AeroVironment’s tiny mechanical flying bird. As brought to our attention by Design You Trust, the diminutive bird has been engineered to mimic the natural flight patterns of the hummingbird and is a startling example of how far robotic technology has come along.

The flying Nano Hummingbird was created through a program sponsored by the Defense Advancement Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for new technology for use by the military and is intended to be used in future indoor and outdoor surveillance missions.


AeroVironment was commissioned by DARPA to create a tiny flying robot that had 360 degree freedom of movement, could hover, and prove readily inconspicuous. Not only is the Nano Hummingbird small and versatile, but it can be remote controlled without an external power source and features a built-in camera. The tiny bird has the ability to travel forward at 11 miles per hour and proves somewhat resilient – it’s able to resist the a small wind gale of 5 miles per hour while hovering without itself being swayed more than a meter off track.

While we can’t speak for DARPA’s exact intentions for the flying surveillance robots, the Nano Hummingbird will do little to lift the nascent feelings of paranoia placed at the feet of government agencies by conspiracy theorists and civil liberty supporters alike, we can’t help, from a design and technical standpoint, admire and marvel at the extraordinary technology found within the cute bird bots.

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