London, March 10 : Researchers have developed a remote-controlled and almost silent miniature helicopter called "Microdrone", that can capture images with both a video and an infra-red camera, thus helping the police to fight crime.
According to a report in the Telegraph, though the Microdrone resembles a toy in size and appearance, it can instantly transmit images to operators on the ground up to 500 yards away.
Barely two feet across, the tiny drone is nonetheless armed to the hilt with crime-fighting technology, including a squirt-gun which can fire jets of a liquid called "SmartWater" which can be identified by police.
The British Transport Police (BTP), in their operation to crack down on metal thefts on the railways, is already using the miniature helicopter.
According to a spokesman for BTP, "Although it may look simple, it's actually a complex bit of kit, capable of many things." "There's only one being used at the moment as it is an expensive device which costs several thousands of pounds," the spokesman added.
While police have welcomed the device as the latest tool in the war on crime, concerns have been raised that it may be used to intrude on privacy.
Bloggers have pointed out that a silent, tiny machine capable of focusing its cameras on objects more than 350 feet away could be abused both by the authorities and private owners, who could use it as a "peeping tom" device.
The Microdrone costs 25,000 pounds.