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Tiny micro-flyers indicate the future of warfare and public control

Electronic chips with sensors and transmitters the size of dust grains will be able to spy on enemy movements in real time and this is just one example of their capabilities

A micro-flyer compared to a ladybug. Source: Northwestern University
A micro-flyer compared to a ladybug. source: Northwestern University

Engineers have developed the smallest human-made flying structure: a tiny microchip, with wrap-around wings.

The 'micro-flyers' come in the size of a grain of sand, plus or minus, and do not need an engine of any kind. They catch a ride on the wind, similar to the way certain seeds with 'wings' are able to be carried in the air for hours and for hundreds of meters - and even tens of kilometers - until they land[1]. However, unlike seeds from nature, the micro-flyers can carry sensors, energy sources, antennas to transmit information through the air and even means to store information.

You can talk a lot about the science and engineering behind the development, and they are really interesting. The researchers were inspired by the aerodynamic properties of various floating seeds, and developed a simple creation process in which the shape of the flying objects can be drawn on a two-dimensional surface. Once the micro-flyers are detached from the surface, they fold themselves into a XNUMXD shape. This means that the micro-flyers can be made as easily and at the same cost as making chips today. And by implication, one can certainly think of millions of flying micro-aircraft with a total volume of several cubic meters, which are dropped from an airplane to monitor an entire area on the ground.

Despite the good intentions, it seems clear that the micro-drones can find a warm home in the bosom of the military system. The most advanced armies in the world have been fantasizing for more than twenty years about "smart dust" - the ability to fill the air with sensors that will monitor... well, everything.

Captain Guanchi sighed deeply. Another 'freedom fighter' in his own eyes decided to blow up a building in the city center as a way to demonstrate against China, and to hell with the unlucky people present there.

"The glider ready?" he asked the operator in the control room. When it nodded, Captain Guanchi gave the order. One of the drones that were always present in the sky of the city, released all the micro-flying cargo it was carrying.

Guanchi knew that at this very moment, millions of tiny sensors floated to the ground and filled the entire area with semi-transparent dots. Residents were immediately instructed via their smartphones to put on their masks, just in case any of them accidentally inhaled the micro-drones into their lungs. The wise among them went into indoor places at the moment of the explosion and closed all the windows. They already knew the routine.

The screens in front of the operators were filled with information. Most of it was the kind that only the expert analysts could read: simple messages from the less sophisticated micro-flyers. Those above the blast zone managed to detect a number of molecular signatures - Guanchi preferred to refer to them simply as a smell that the chemical sensors read - and relayed the information to the control room. From there, the operators transmitted the scent signatures to the millions of sensors that had already reached a radius of kilometers, carrying the wind at high speed.

Guanchi waited vigilantly, and within a few minutes the first call was received from an innocent-looking black Toyota vehicle, the concentration of odor around it matched the signature recognized by the operators. The micro drones followed him. I mean, they couldn't really move on their own, but the air was full enough of them that some of them were present along the entire route the car traveled. The captain was not surprised to see that the car had entered the underground parking lot at the monastery near the city. He smiled humorlessly. The terrorist may have been familiar with the smart dust technology, but he did not imagine that the flying micro-aircraft would be launched so quickly immediately after the attack. In that respect, he was right. Guanchi was lucky: the right drone was right over the blast zone.

"Go into camouflage mode?" asked the operator. Guanchi gave the green light, and the few specks of smart dust that entered the monastery through the half-open windows stopped transmitting information on long-range frequencies that could easily be detected by electronic warfare means. Guanchi didn't think the monks were equipped with such, but there was no point in taking the risk.

The dozens of smart points floated in the monastery without anyone being able to see them. They were ten times smaller than the smallest ants. In fact, some ants tried to eat them and spit them out immediately. They were deliberately composed of a material that tasted particularly bad to insects. One of the sensors detected the terrorist when he entered a sealed room and closed the door behind him.

not fast enough

The particle moved into the room, carried by the gust of air released when the door closed. Captain Guanchee only got the information when the micro-flyer made the move and released a few tiny drops of extremely deadly nerve gas. After the man was neutralized, there was no longer any need for camouflage.

In the intelligence agency control room, Guanche sighed again. He did not understand why anyone would even try to oppose Chinese rule in the region. The army knew everything, controlled everything. What is the point of resistance?

"Back to normal." ordered, and left the place to report the incident to his direct commander. He stopped to shake off a few grains of dust that had stuck to his clothes. The damn dust was everywhere these days. He's already used to it.

You can't trust anyone.

This is just one example of how the micro-aircraft could help military bodies and governments in the future. For better or worse, for better or for worse, those in control will gain even greater power over the citizens, the governed, or the enemies.

That is, until the flying micro-aircraft arrive that can paralyze the enemy's.

The future is going to be interesting.


the source of the news[2]



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