Lockheed Martin's Scott Fouse, director of advanced technology labratories, shows off the "somewhat seductive" Samurai nano air vehicle this week.
Based on the aerodynamics of a maple seed, the challenge for building the tiny UAV was to generate positive lift with a propeller and integrate the controls, Fouse says.
After working through the initial design with DARPA, Lockheed is internally funding continued development on the sensor and image stablization. Flown under human control or autonomously, Samurai has helped Lockheed engineers "trying to understand what it means to engineer something at this scale," Fouse says. The goal is to eventually have a Samurai family, from the hand-held version up to a 76cm (30 inch) UAV.