'Eye In The Sky' Movie Borrows 35, 80 Year-Old SF

I'm looking forward to seeing the 2015 movie Eye in the Sky, starring Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman and Iain Glen, which has received excellent reviews but only limited release.

Take a look at the following trailer, and pause for a moment at 20 seconds and at 40 seconds to see a couple of science-fictional technologies that were first introduced about thirty-five and eighty years ago, respectively.


(Eye in the Sky movie trailer video)

The first is a UAV flapping-wing bird that was described by Roger Zelazny in his 1980 novel Changeling; he called it the tracer-bird:

The prototype blue-bellied, gray-backed tracer-bird with the wide-angle eye and the parabola ear followed the dragon-riders north. A series of the larger fliers followed it at well-spaced intervals, to serve as relay points for the spy broadcasts...
(Read more about Zelazny's tracer-bird)

Here's a real-life prototype of a flapping-wing UAV developed by AeroEnvironment:


(Robotic hummingbird)

Here's another real-life example, an (ultralight crane:


(Origami crane flying)

The second instance is an 80 year-old idea, from a 1936 issue of Astounding Stories magazine. Raymond Z. Gallun was one of the three most famous authors of the Golden Age of science fiction (or scientifiction); he's fun to read even today.

The Scarab rubbed its hind legs together, as flies will do when at rest. Then, apparently satisfied that it was in condition, it unfolded the coleoptera-like plates over its wings. With a buzz that any uninformed person would have mistaken for that of a beetle, it started out on its journey.
(Read more about the scarab flying insect robot)

I should also point out Philip K Dick's amazing housefly monitor from his 1964 novel Lies, Inc..

Check out some of these links for stories about real-life insect-sized flying robots:

  - 'New' Israeli Bionic Hornet Concept Is 70 Years Old
  - Jumping Microrobot 'Flea' Is Solar Powered
  - Robotic Fly Micro Air Vehicle
  - Morphing Micro Air-Land Vehicle: It Flies, It Crawls
  - DelFly Micro Smallest Camera Plane
  - ExoFly Flapping Planetary Survey Aerobot
  - Katana Mono-Wing Rotorcraft Nano Air Vehicle
  - Stealthy, Persistent Perch and Stare UAVs
  - Robobees To Swarm At Harvard
  - Bio-Mechanics And Micro-Robotic Flight
  - Perching Project Drones Wait For You
  - Insectothopter Robotic Dragonfly CIA Tech From 1970s
  - Microcamera Big As Grain Of Salt
  - Robobee Learns The Waggle Dance
  - BOLT Bipedal Ornithopter Robot
  - Israel's Robotic Butterfly Drone Flies Indoors
  - Can't Wait For My Robot Dragonfly!
  - Black Hornet Nano UAV Used By British Troops
  - RoboBee Swarm Replaces Pollinating Insects?
  - Drosophila Robotica, The Mechanical Fly
  - Tiniest Microphone Inspired By Fly
  - Fast Lightweight Autonomy Indoor Drones For DARPA

I'm still waiting for this movie to come to my town's art theaters, hopefully I'll be able to see Eye in the Sky by early April. This movie also features one of the last performances by Alan Rickman, who died last year.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/19/2016)

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