February 18th, 2011

Brave New World: You’re Not Paranoid If They Really Are Inventing Hummingbird Cameras To Watch You In The Shower

by Philip Baruth

VDB has a limited taste for Government surveillance, and even that limited taste is sour, frankly. We don’t like Big Brother looking in the windows, or listening in on the phone, period. We oppose the idea of vans cruising the streets with thermal imagers, looking through your walls for the heat signature of growing marijuana. We oppose the concept of data mining, pretty much in its entirety.


But all of that seems quaint next to the “Nano Hummingbird Drone” that AeroVironment has developed in conjunction with the Pentagon. This cute little bugger can literally land on your windowsill and convey the goings-on in your apartment without any of the muss and fuss of current nine-foot remotely-piloted drones.

We watched this video for about 30 seconds with a sense of wonder and not a little bit of longing: VDB always wanted a remotely piloted helicopter, and this takes the concept to an entirely different level.

Then, at about the 35 second mark, we realized that the inset in the top left of the image was actually the live feed from the hummingbird’s extremely high resolution camera. And suddenly the charm was gone.

Make sure you watch until the pilot causes the bird to hover outside an open factory door, showing the interior in great detail. Because that’s the image that will haunt your dreams. And they should be haunted.

Because this hummingbird will seem very large and very clumsy as a surveillance mechanism in about five years. At which point it’ll be nano drone honey bees.

And flies. The sort that buzz the dinner table on a Saturday night, lazily, for all the world like they have nothing better to do.

Hat tip to VDB wingman Don Shall, for curdling our dreams, tonight and many nights to come.