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CIA reveals robot catfish and dragonfly spies


Posted by Steve Busti The photo above is not of a real catfish: believe it or not, it’s actually a robotic Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (or UUV) called Charlie and it was developed by the CIA. Containing a pressurized hull, Charlie was able to spy and collect data using complex ballast, communication and propulsion systems. And you thought this kind of stuff only happened in the movies… ******************************************************************* It’s the sort of idea that would be laughed out of any plot for a spy film: Secret agents using a radio-controlled robot catfish to swim up to their enemies and collect information. Yet, unbelievably, the Central Intelligence Agency dreamed up such a device in the Seventies, called Charlie – and has now revealed it and other stranger-than-fiction gadgets on a new website. The agency simultaneously launched a website and pages on YouTube and Flickr last week, revealing the sorts of equipment that would leave James Bond’s Q Branch green with envy.

Dragonfly spy: Another device from the Office of Research and Development (wow, what were those guys on?) is the ‘Insectothopter’. This Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is the grandfather of the modern-day drone

The agency says the sites allow visitors to ‘find new ways to connect to a broad array of Agency content’. The YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/ciagov) has a range of unintentionally amusing ‘tours’ and potted histories of the spy agency. But by far and away the most intriguing is its Flickr stream (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ciagov), which shows off some of the weird and wonderful gadgets employed since the Second World War.

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