Artifact Details

The original listening device was disguised a bumblebee, but the dragonfly design was easier to maneuver.

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 vehicle (insectothopter). It was intended to prove the concept of such miniaturized platforms for intelligence collection.

Insectothopter had a miniature engine to move the wings up and down. 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 any kind of crosswind proved too difficult.

Artifact Specs

6 cm x 9 cm x 1.5 cm
(L x W x H)

Additional Photos


The Debrief: Behind the Artifact - Insectothopter

Insectothopter: The Bug-Carrying Bug