The Office of Naval Research (working for the marines) has developed a camera and transmitter that can fit into something as small as a 40mm grenade (normally fired from a tube attached underneath the front of an M-16.) It’s called the “recon round” and it’s been tested in an 81mm mortar shell version. Shorter and lighter than a normal 81mm round (that weighs about seven pounds), this recon round is six inches long and weighs two pounds. Once fired, the round goes as high as 2,000 feet, before it’s special parachute (designed to keep the descending round stable in windy conditions) deploys and the round takes about 80 seconds to reach the ground. In that time, it takes and transmits about four photos, which can be picked up by a laptop with the antennae attached via the standard USB port (and the software for immediately viewing the photos.) Since infantry officers regularly travel with their laptops open and in use, all they have to do is call back to their mortar section, give the location over the hill or wherever, and call for “recon round.”
I’d like to fire one of those off every time I drive up to Denver, just to see what’s slowing down all the traffic at Monument.