The Drone Arms Race Heats Up: World’s First “Beach Ball” Surveillance Drone Developed in Japan


Activist Post

It has been predicted that the development of drone surveillance by the U.S. would spark a global race to develop new drone capabilities, leading to a potentially dystopian future of drone wars where combat is performed by fleets of microbots.  The Washington Post reported that:

More than 50 countries have purchased surveillance drones, and many have started in-country development programs for armed versions because no nation is exporting weaponized drones beyond a handful of sales between the United States and its closest allies.

We are already seeing this take place in both air and sea, as myriad unmanned drones are taking flight from research laboratories across the world.  Drones have even taken to the high-seas, as navies begin to “build fleets of crewless boats capable of missions on and under the water, according to maritime experts,” as discussed at

Much like nuclear weapons, it seems as though this genie is not likely to find its way back into the bottle.

Researchers in Japan have provided the latest in all-seeing eye technology: the drone “beach ball”.  This might be the clearest evidence yet that we have entered a world which resembles bad science fiction, but, nonetheless, it’s true.
Homeland Security Newswire reports that the new Spherical Air Vehicle (SAV) “weighs 350 grams (12.3 ounces) and has a diameter of 42 centimeters (16.8 inches); it can reach a speed of 37 miles per hour.”

The developer from the Technical Research and Development Center of the Japan Defense Agency has amazingly constructed this vehicle from parts that can be found at electronics shops for a cost of around $1,400. (Source).

The DIY flying spy camera can bounce, roll, hover and turn corners in any environment using components such as a modified plastic bottle, propeller and control flaps.  All operated by remote control. (Source)

Naturally, this has led the researchers to speculate how it can be used in search-and-rescue missions.  This is the exact same justification we have heard from military and police sources in the United States to justify the use of micro-drone surveillance over the interior U.S. in violation of the Constitution.

Nonetheless, the technology continues to be developed as competition soars between nations to catch up to the United States.  As we wrote about previously, the miniaturization of surveillance and weapons of war is not nearly over.  President Obama (signed off on by John P. Holdren) has issued the comprehensive, 60-page National Nanotechnology Initiative 2011 Strategic Plan, calling for investment in nanotechnology to be used in everything from remote sensors for bioweapons detection, to surveillance and traffic control.

The world of science fiction has indeed become our reality. We would be well advised to put pressure on world leaders and the scientific community to use the greatest caution when racing toward a unmanned future that science fiction warns can end rather unpleasantly for the human race.

Here’s the demo (in Japanese)


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