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Robot hornets become British Army's latest weapon

Posting in Design

Members of the British Army, currently resident in Afghanistan, have been issued with tiny surveillance drones that fit in the palm of your hand.

The Associated Press reports that the Black Hornet Nano -- designed in Scandinavia -- weighs only 16 grams and is 4 inches long.

The tiny helicopter is equipped with a tiny camera that, while flying about spying, can relay back images and video footage to a remote terminal. Able to fly in windy conditions, the helicopter, designed by Prox Dynamics, is part of a £21 million ($31m) project to give up to 160 of the pint-sized surveillance units to soldiers on the ground in warzones.

Charged with a small battery, the Hornet reportedly is able to reach roughly 800 meters in the air, and able to fly for up to 30 minutes at a time. The tiny drone can either be programmed via GPS or flown manually -- and for military personnel seeking out potential threats or insurgents, the Hornet can flush out risks before someone puts themselves in danger.

Sgt. Christopher Petherbridge, with Britain's Brigade Reconnaissance Force told the news agency:

"We used it to look for insurgent firing points and check out exposed areas of the ground before crossing, which is a real asset."

Not only this, but apparently the Hornet is "easy to operate" and has "amazing capability to the guys on the ground."

(via AP)

Image credit: MOD 2013

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— By on February 4, 2013, 9:01 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure