Thursday, January 20

The “Spy Stone”: this is the last robot of the Russian army to evade the surveillance of its enemies


To the thousand eyes with which we have always had to walk in war, from now on we will have to add some more. The extensive list of surveillance systems by air, sea and land has just added a new invention worthy of the best classic spy movies. How it collects Popular Science, the cadets of the Russian Air Force have just presented a prototype of a robot nicknamed —without too much originality, let it be said— “Spy Stone”. And that is, neither more nor less: a robot with the shape and appearance of a rock to approach and observe the enemy without being detected.

Objective: go unnoticed

The device is fruit of three years of work by teachers and students of the Military Science and Education Center (MESC) of the Zhukovsky-Gagarian Air Force Academy. At first glance it resembles a toy tank provided with wheels and a small periscope, but its focus is clearly military: it can capture up to 15 hours of video and audio and stream the content to equipment 1.25 miles away, just over two kilometers. The recording is activated with motion sensors and, to maximize its autonomy, stay 24 hours in suspension.

Your design —collect Popular Science– makes it especially interesting for reconnaissance work in static trenches and the front lines. The grooves dug into the ground in front of enemy troops may sound like something unique to World War I, but even today, in the days of drones and satellites, they are still useful in certain contexts. The main asset and the great advantage of the Spy Stone compared to unmanned combat aerial vehicles is its size – in the test videos you can see how it moves on a table -, your ability to go unnoticed and the little noise it produces when moving.

Not all are advantages, of course. The main weaknesses of the Russian invention They are its fragility, the threat that it will end up overturned if it moves over too steep terrain or that the operator, after all, must be relatively close to the device. His vulnerable appearance has even unleashed, how do you explain The Moscow Times, some teasing on the networks.

The Spy Stone is just one more sample of the bet of military intelligence for robots, which sometimes generates surprising designs. Only a few years ago “Sphera” was presented.For example, a small “ball” equipped with four cameras designed so that, while the device rolls on the ground, it can send images in real time to an operator.



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