Engineers at Northwestern University have detailed the first ever battery-less microflier design. An article published by Nature this week lays bare the research and development process of what are being billed as the smallest-ever human-made flying structures, which are planned to eventually function as “large, distributed collections of miniaturized, wireless electronic devices”, or swarms, of environmental do-gooders. They’re planned to be able to carry data, scan their surroundings, and provide for wireless communication as well.
Potential usages for these swarms are near-infinite: air quality monitoring (and potential interaction with weather formations), airborne disease spread control, automated seed dispersal for agriculture, non-intrusive wild-life monitoring, explosive detection solutions for law enforcement, as massive data dispersal systems…or as mass surveillance mechanisms and tools for biological warfare right out of a Bond movie.
As time and history have shown us, while technology is often argued as being neutral by nature; human usage of it is another matter entirely. Doomsday scenarios for wonder tech are certainly easy to imagine, as Black Mirror has already done with a similar concept.