Meet the CIA's robotic animal agents: Charlie the spy fish and the robo-dragonfly

The CIA recently created accounts on Flickr and YouTube. Most of what's been uploaded is underwhelming and weirdly mundane — for example, you can learn about a satisfying career as a K-9 bomb-sniffing dog — but there are some oddly intriguing mechanical animals on display, namely the robo-fish Charlie and a "dragonfly insectothopter," which the CIA claims was never used in the field. Click through to watch videos of these spybots in motion.

Here's the CIA's description of Charlie:

CIA's Office of Advanced Technologies and Programs developed the Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) fish to study aquatic robot technology. The UUV fish contains a pressure hull, ballast system, and communications system in the body and a propulsion system in the tail. It is controlled by a wireless line-of-sight radio handset.

Meet the CIA's robotic animal agents: Charlie the spy fish and the robo-dragonfly

Developed by CIA's Office of Research and Development in the 1970s, this micro Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was the first flight of an insect-sized aerial vehicle (Insectothopter). It was an initiative to explore the concept of intelligence collection by miniaturized platforms.


The CIA has the best MIDI composers.

A small amount of gas was used to drive the engine, and the excess was vented out the rear for extra thrust. The flight tests were impressive; however, control in even a slight crosswind proved too difficult to overcome.

[Spotted on Danger Room]