It looks like something out of the latest science-fiction movie, but it could be the next line of defense for U.S. soldiers fighting on the front lines.
The British defense and aerospace company BAE Systems is creating small electronic insects, spiders and snakes that have the ability to enter places before combat soldiers and electronically report back what's inside, the U.K.'s Daily Mail newspaper reported.
BAE just signed a multi-million dollar contract to develop the robots for the U.S. Army, the newspaper reported.
Some of the insect-like robots will have small cameras, while others will have sensors able to detect chemical, biological or radioactive weapons, the Daily Mail reported.
"What we are doing is providing an enhanced awareness for soldiers, basically an extension to their eyes and ears," said Steve Scalera, program manager. "The creatures have external sensors. They can be tossed out into a building or a cave or even a pile of rubble and then send images back to the troops."
Soldiers will carry either a hand-held or wrist-mounted devise that will display what the robot is seeing or detecting.
"The idea is to get a number of these working together — some tiny, some maybe up to a foot in length, and all going into a building together carrying out different tasks. Eventually we hope to have animals flying and slithering," said Scalera.