Developers selling ‘dragonfly’ robotic drone for about $100

The Sideshow

The Air Force has spent more than $1 million to help develop a small and versatile robot dragonfly. But in a move to raise funds for the Dragonfly, the developers are offering the public the chance to own their own flying robot Dragonfly for $119.

“This means you can do amazing aerial photography, spy on people, secure your house or use it as the next-gen gaming platform,” says Emanuel Jones, co-founder of TechJect, in a promotional video for the project on the Indiegogo website.

Jones and project founder Jayant Ratti started TechJect after first developing the Dragonfly at the Georgia Institute of Technology with a grant from the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

They say the current prototype weighs less than an ounce, or the weight of one AA battery. And if you believe the project’s developers, it offers several more practical uses than your typical “one-trick pony” aerial drone, including a smaller frame and more powerful battery life.

“This could be the next generation in spy tools. Even James Bond would want one of these,” Ratti says in the video, noting it is specifically being developed for use by the military and local law enforcement agencies.

So, what would the average person want with a tiny spy drone the size of an insect? The Dragonfly comes equipped with high-definition cameras and can be operated with an iPhone.

If spying isn’t your thing, you could use the Dragonfly for more recreational purposes, like filming a skiing trip or even filming outside your home to supplement a home security system.

“The Dragonflies are indistinguishable from an insect in the environment,” reads a description on the Indiegogo site. “Imagine that level of camouflage guarding your house or keeping a watch on your kids/family; it literally goes unnoticed.”

And so far, people seem to be ready to invest in the project. Initially, Ratti and Jones had a goal of raising $111,000. With about two weeks left in the fundraising drive, they’ve already secured more than $350,000 from nearly 1,000 donors.

Of course, even some of the positive reviews come with a cautionary note, as TechCrunch deadpans, “This robotic dragonfly will soon flit into your nightmares.”

You can watch a video demonstration of the Dragonfly in action below: