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.