Firefly Cameras Shot From Grenade Launcher

The Firefly wireless camera can be shot from a standard grenade launcher more than 500 feet into the air, streaming useful video back.


(Joshua Marpet shows 37mm flare launcher for Firefly wireless spy camera)

Israeli defense contractor Rafael Armament Development Authority calls it a "revolutionary concept in tactical intelligence," but really it's a wireless camera that's shot 500 feet in the air by a grenade launcher. And if a couple of hackers here at the Defcon hacking convention get their way, soon anyone will be able to buy this type of military grade technology for only US$500.

The Firefly can make the difference between life or death on the battlefield. Soldiers shoot it off and for eight glorious seconds it gives them a bird's eye view of the terrain around them, tipping them off to enemy positions. Then it crashes back to earth.

Private citizens can't buy these flying cameras, much less the 40mm grenade launchers used to shoot them. But Vlad Gostom and Joshua Marpet think they'd be great tools for a search and rescue operation, or maybe a boon to some local police force's SWAT (special weapons and tactics) team.

This device reminds me of the recording eyes used artfully by Robert Silverberg in his outstanding 1969 novel The Man in the Maze. Recording eyes were a bit tougher than Fireflies - you could drop them from space.

Muller saw a cloud-wrapped planet... it could have been Venus... The recording eye pierced the cloud layer and revealed an unfamiliar, not very Earthlike planet. The soil looked moist and spongy, and rubbery trees that looked like giant toadstools thrust upward from it...

...three alien figures came strolling through the somber grove. They were elongated, almost spidery, with clusters of eight or ten jointed limbs depending from their narrow shoulders...

One of them paused, bent peered closely at the ground. It scooped up the eye that had been witnessing its activities.
(Read more about Silverberg's recording eyes)

Via Techworld.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/8/2011)

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