Camera drones without mirrors or lenses to monitor future battlefields, you

As the military industrial complex surges forward, so do advances in technology for the public sector. At least that's how the cold-war wisdom goes. Case in point: QinetiQ is developing a lens-less, mirror-less, battlefield imaging system with some help from your DARPA's deep pockets. The LACOSTE project (Large Area Coverage Optical Search while Track and Engage) aims to set aloft high-altitude (about 20km) drones and air-ships fitted with a special, thousand-strong microscopic sensor array (a "first of their kind," according to QinetiQ), a "mask," and image processor to decode the scene and extract an image of the quickly changing conditions on the battlefield or, you guessed it, city streets. The resulting lightweight and highly-durable system should feature a "super resolution" mode with the ability to "detect and simultaneously track large numbers of moving vehicles in dense urban areas with a high degree of accuracy, 24-hours a day." And here you thought CCTV was intrusive.

[Via BBC]