Check out this quad rotor video from UPenn’s GRASP lab:
There are some pretty neat potential military applications of this kind of technology, and they are not necessarily kinetic. Imagine that you could lean out Cisco’s OSPF network layer protocol – or adopt some existing lean layer 3 protocol – in such a way that it could run on a circuit card. Network traffic could flow between the UAS nodes in such a way that not all possible routes would have to be advertised, thereby reducing the overhead burden and increasing “goodput.” Potentially some larger, “master” UAS or other battlefield system would be aware of all potential routes so that the network could self-form and self-heal as nano-UASs joined or left the network.
Now picture that you have a dispersed number of troops in some place where the cellular network is either compromised or unavailable. A soldier in one building could launch his nano-bot, establish a network link, and over line-of-sight connections to the other network nodes and master, establish connectivity to the Global Information Grid. Now on his iPhone or iPad – or whatever secure, handheld network device you might think of – he could tap into virtually all web-enabled services; imagery, voice/video, ftp, email and text. Assuming of course that the master system has wide-band SATCOM, which why wouldn’t it?
Taking fire from a site beyond yonder hill? Employ a cross-domain solution at the master system which enables you to go to Google Earth and see what collateral damage implications would be involved in counter-fires. If the nano-bots themselves had sensors, they could create a common operational picture that is viewable both by troops in the field and from higher headquarters for combined fires.
What’s your idea?