A surveillance drone you're not likely to see

Nov. 9, 2006
Can a surveillance drone be made virtually invisible?

The persistence of vision effect makes the Phantom Sentinel from VeraTech Aero, Minneapolis, virtually invisible.

VeraTech, based in Minneapolis, thinks so.

The "persistence of vision" effect turns the fast-moving rotors of a helicopter into a near-transparent blur. In the same vein, inventor Michael Dammar has come up with a way of making a whole aircraft spin as it flies, making it a blur in the sky. Dammar's Phantom Sentinel aircraft would not evade radar but should avoid visual identification.

The drone is Y-shaped, consisting of a single, long wing attached to two short aerodynamic extensions, each with a propeller on the end. The weight is balanced so the center of gravity sits between the two extensions. When the motors are running, the drone spins around this center of gravity while the longer wing generates lift.

Making the plane sky blue, or largely transparent, should help conceal it further, says Dammar. A camera placed near the center of gravity could build panoramic pictures of the ground. In urban battlegrounds, U.S. ground troops could use these VTOL UAV surveillance platforms to deliver close-up, real-time video intelligence within 75 ft of nearly any event.


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