For 12 years, Harvard engineering professor Robert Wood has been trying to get a fly-sized drone off the ground. He and his colleagues have had to overcome issues of weight, aerodynamics of wing flapping, power supply, and figuring out how to manufacture a robot smaller than a quarter. Finally, the little robo-fly is airborne and here’s the video.
“This is the culmination of over a decade of work I’ve been trying to do to get this result,” said Wood, who runs a lab at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. “This is the first demonstration that you can make insect-like robots and control them in flight.”
Tag Archives: Drone
No longer the fantasy weapon of tomorrow, the U.S. Navy is set to field a powerful laser that can protect its ships by blasting targets with high-intensity light beams.
Early next year the Navy will place a laser weapon aboard a ship in the Persian Gulf where it could be used to fend off approaching unmanned aerial vehicles or speedboats.
The Navy calls its futuristic weapon LAWS, which stands for the Laser Weapon System. What looks like a small telescope is actually a weapon that can track a moving target and fire a steady laser beam strong enough to burn a hole through steel.
A Navy video of testing conducted last summer off the coast of California shows how a laser beam fired from a Navy destroyer was able to set aflame an approaching UAV or drone, sending it crashing into the ocean.
“Unmanned aerial vehicles are emerging as critical enablers for PLA long range precision strike operations,” said Mark Stokes, a former military intelligence official now with the Project 2049 Institute. “A general operational PLA requirement appears to be persistent surveillance of fixed and moving targets out to 3,000 kilometers of Chinese shores.”
Japan, meanwhile, is developing and purchasing military drone capabilities to counter what it regards as Chinese aggression and Beijing’s growing military capabilities as Tokyo’s dispute with China over the Senkaku islands intensifies, the officials said.
After Chinese aircraft intruded into Japanese airspace over the Senkakus undetected late last year, Tokyo stepped up efforts to seek drone capabilities. The efforts include building an indigenous missile-tracking drone and high-altitude U.S. drones.
In pointing to the way the United States has conducted limited warfare since the 2003 U.S.-Iraq conflict and then in Libya, Gerasimov believes that the U.S. approach of C4ISR is the way to go for increasing Russian military capability.
C4ISR is Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.
The Russian military will be looking to more of a non-nuclear approach than the way the armed forces are now taking. Gerasimov has the backing of a number of Russian strategists who advocate more of a non-nuclear deterrence.
Such a non-nuclear deterrence will include high-precision, long-range conventional weapons such as the U.S. now uses in its drone campaign against terrorist locations.
The problem with the American approach is that it doesn’t actually win wars. It defeats the enemy military, but not the people. So any apparent victory is short lived.
How does one defeat the people?
In order to make the people feel defeated, one has to kill a lot of them. They must be devastated, like the Germans and Japanese at the end of World War II. You have to keep killing them until the people give up. We know this approach works because we have seen it in action in World War II.
Obliviously, this approach (the World War II approach) is not the American way. Now the Russians and Chinese are following the American path, which does in fact look like an excellent approach. It just doesn’t produce lasting results. Also, the World War II approach would be considered a war crime today due to the rise of modern liberalism. Modern liberalism focuses on equality of reaction and really the equality of everything. Never mind that this doesn’t actually solve the problem.
I can’t fault the Russians and Chinese for following the American path. Given the state of the world that is probably their best available option. It’s just that the best available option is not good enough.
This great profile of a one-time Chinese military hacker in the Los Angeles Times makes one thing clear about China’s military cyber hacking unit: It ain’t exactly Mission: Impossible.
Here’s a rundown of the soul-crushing tedium—based in part on a blog written by a hacker named Wang—that any cubicle-dwelling worker drone would recognize:
The pay is lousy. Wang complained constantly about how little he made, particularly compared to his private-sector former classmates, and appeared to earned only enough to cover his expenses. The LA Times also highlights how cached evidence suggests that Wang’s colleague, Mei Qiang, posted ads online offering to write Trojan viruses for money (pdf, p.58).
The location, hours, and perks all suck. …
China is building one of the world’s largest drone fleets aimed at expanding its military reach in the Pacific and swarming U.S. Navy carriers in the unlikely event of a war, according to a new report.
The Chinese military — known as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) — envisions its drone swarms scouting out battlefields, guiding missile strikes and overwhelming opponents through sheer numbers. China’s military-industrial complex has created a wide array of homegrown drones to accomplish those goals over the past decade, according to the report released by the Project 2049 Institute on March 11.
Since 9/11, the U.S. has grown increasingly reliant on drones to take out suspected terrorists in far-flung regions of the globe. The trend has only accelerated under President Obama, who has coupled a surge in drone attacks with a withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, a clear signal that the U.S. fight against terrorism will no longer entail a large military footprint on the ground. And as the troops recede, the drones are only going to get smaller, more accurate, and deadlier, according to John Horgan at National Geographic. Horgan says the Air Force has constructed a “micro-aviary” to test insect-like drones, and he was given an animated video that shows simulated drones in action. According to Horgan:
The drones swarm through alleys, crawl across windowsills, and perch on power lines. One of them sneaks up on a scowling man holding a gun and shoots him in the head. The video concludes, “Unobtrusive, pervasive, lethal: Micro air vehicles.” [National Geographic]
Comment: Do you think that at some point these insect drones will be deployed against you? Sooner or later I think the answer is yes.
Both countries claim drones will be used for surveillance, but experts warn of future skirmishes in region’s airspace
China is rapidly expanding its nascent drone programme, while Japan has begun preparations to purchase an advanced model from the US. Both sides claim the drones will be used for surveillance, but experts warn the possibility of future drone skirmishes in the region’s airspace is “very high”.
China appears unbowed. “Japan has continued to ignore our warnings that their vessels and aircraft have infringed our sovereignty,” top-level marine surveillance official Sun Shuxian said in an interview posted to the State Oceanic Administration’s website, according to Reuters. “This behaviour may result in the further escalation of the situation at sea and has prompted China to pay great attention and vigilance.”
And where is the US in all of this? Sleeping?
China is threatening and challenging an important US ally. Why isn’t the US doing something about it?
The report, which said “the military significance of China’s move into unmanned systems is alarming,” …
“Mr. Schiffer said that no single development led him to describe China’s arms buildup as ‘potentially destabilizing,’ although Pentagon officials had increasingly said they were concerned about China’s military intentions in the Pacific,” Elisabeth wrote. “Instead, he said, he used the phrase because of China’s lack of transparency and its trends in military prowess.”
That prowess would seem to include drones.
“The scope and speed of unmanned-aircraft development in China is a wake-up call that has both industrial and military implications,” said the report by the Defense Science Board. “U.S. exports of unmanned systems are highly constrained. China, with no such constraints, has made U.A.V.s a new focus of military exports.”
The analysis recommended that U.S. military planners and the Defense Intelligence Agency should “aggressively” incorporate drones and drone warfare into their war games, simulations and exercises.
If you look at how money and power is shifting from the West to East, and acknowledge that the East is led by a China that does NOT respect the rights of individuals, then you must understand that trouble lies ahead. The decline of an empire – the US – is a sign that trouble lies ahead. The transition to a new international order, which typically does not go smoothly, is a sign that trouble is ahead. China’s military buildup and aggressiveness is a sign that trouble lies ahead. On top of everything, China is rapidly pursuing a drone program that is being called ‘alarming.’ Not a good sign.
So, all signs point to a very troubling time ahead. The foundation of the world is crumbling. It is likely that the actual collapse will be sudden and catch everyone by surprise. Let us say that you live in a nice, large house. It’s a great house that you really love. One day you learn that the foundation is crumbling and the house is in danger of sudden collapse within a few years. Should you move out immediately, or stay and bail out at the last minute hoping that you can see the signs?