Having a target painted on one’s back just took on a whole new literal meaning. The Air Force wants a new kind of tracking tech in which a tiny drone surreptitiously “paints” an individual with some kind of signal-emitting powder or liquid that allows the military to keep tabs on him or her. Or perhaps upload their coordinates to a hellfire missile.
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On Tuesday, the AF put out a call for proposals for such technology, though it didn’t specify exactly what kind of drone might deliver the magic powder, or what the magic powder might be. But as Danger Room notes, there are a range of experimental technologies that could potentially serve both purposes (for a more thorough rundown of that tech, click through to DR’s piece).
Regular readers of PopSci know that tiny insect drones, while not yet perfected, abound in the lab. From larger hummingbird drones to other tiny ornithopters to DARPA’s remote-controlled beetle, the delivery system for such a technology isn’t so far away from being a reality. What most of these tiny drones lack is range, and that will only improve with advances in battery life and materials science.
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