Hummingbird drone on the cover of Time

 2011 11 Hummingbird-Flight-Sequence

Earlier this year, I posted about AeroVironment's hummingbird drone, a palm-sized spy plane outfitted with a video camera. (Yes, it's a project for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). Recently, photographer Jamie Chung spent more than two weeks photographing the Hummingbird for the cover of Time Magazine's current "Invention Issue." Says Chung, "It’s crazy to think something so pretty is used for something so dangerous." Unfortunately, the Time article, titled "The 50 Best Inventions," is behind a silly paywall. "Behind the Cover: Jamie Chung on Photographing the Hummingbird Drone" (Thanks, Tom Kalil!)


  1. Fat Green Oystercatcher Drone, more like. If the drones of the future are designed to resemble birds and insects will the soldiers of the future resemble birders and entomologists?

  2. Ya know it’s amazing, but here’s what worries me about it – and I know I might be a little over-thinking things, but I tend to extrapolate…

    I mean this is a hummingbird, so one assume they could make equally as great spy devices for other birds.  Does this equate down the line to mass killings / spraying / poisoning of birds (any birds) to thwart the use of drone bird spies – provided they become successful enough. 

    Like most of these devices, it’s a matter of time before other countries steal them and / or develop their own.

    I dunno, it’s brilliant and all, but there’s something about masking your spy device as an animal that puts real animals at risk, as any one of them could be the eyes of the “enemy”. 

    1. Jeff, great points! You and I are real animals too, so I suggest the best course of action is trying harder to not have enemies.

    2. Does this equate down the line to mass killings / spraying / poisoning of birds (any birds) to thwart the use of drone bird spies – provided they become successful enough.

       Instead of making your drone look like a cute colorful little hummingbird, you just make it look like a pigeon or mouse :) Good luck with the mass extermination campaign…

  3. DASH: Hey, hey Vi, c’mere, look, look it talks! There, that one.
    Voice key incorrect.
    VIOLET: Voice key?
    Voice key incorrect.

  4. Why is it crazy that “something beautiful be used for something deadly”? The Trojans thought that the horse the Greeks left behind was so impressive that they intended to display it as a trophy.

  5. “Crazy conspiracy theorists” have been insisting for several years now that they have seen fake birds/dragonflies with cameras deployed in real world situations.  Has science caught up with delusion, or has disclosure caught up with reality?

  6. First of all: I watch real, actual birds on a fairly regular basis.  And a living, breathing hummingbird can do things that no human construct can even come close to.

    So this itty-bitty RC-spy bird has a camera…wow.

    Until you can actually control the brain of a living hummingbird and force it to do your bidding, or equip your doppelganger with anti-personnel missiles or hyper sonic speed to actually fly Through enemies,  I remain unimpressed.

    (my own work on falcon/owl hybrid cybernetics and remote mind control remains inconclusive)

  7. If it is behind a paywall then don’t promote it.

    If they are cutting themselves off the free Internet then grant them their wish.

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