Some researchers really take biomimicry seriously, like when they say, 'What we need is a hummingbird spy.' The folks at AeroVironment, under a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), approached the need for a Nano Air Vehicle (NAV) very seriously. It actually created an NAV that looks and even flies just like a hummingbird.
Hummingbird Spy created for DARPA by AeroVironment: AP Photo/AeroVironment Inc. via RDMag.com
The hummingbird 'aircraft' has a video camera in its belly so it can record everything it sees and hears. Operated by remote control, the nano spy plane can climb, descend, and fly sideways, forward, and backward. It can also rotate clockwise and counterclockwise, as well as hover. This spy is so small, weighing less than an ounce with only a six inch wing span, it can gather intelligence and reconnaissance information just about anywhere, unbeknownst to anyone.
This short video shows the hummingbird in flight as well as the visual it is recording.
The spy who dresses like a hummingbird may have to wait awhile before its first real assignment. Apparently when it was first revealed to the press, it buzzed the demonstrator's head!
You can find more videos of the Nano Hummingbird on YouTube.
sources: RDmag, AeroVironment