These are quadrotor drones, flying robots straight out of sci-fi. They can, well, fly, hover, squeeze thru tight spots, use tools, build stuff, and automatically collaborate. They can also, as you can see in the video above, play the James Bond theme on a variety of instruments.
I was reading Farhad Manjoo, who seems to be scared of these things. They actually are a bit terrifying. In the video below you can see them doing aggressive maneuvers. Attach knives to these and they could most definitely get into my house and kill me.
They can also, however, build stuff, film or photograph things and be productive, but never mind. Read this, from professor and drone builder Francis Fukuyama.
The technology is not standing still. Down the road are insect-sized drones that could be mistaken for a housefly or spider, which could slip in under a door-sill to record conversations, take photos or even inject a lethal toxin into an unsuspecting victim. Systems such as these are under development by the Army’s Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology (Mast) programme, in partnership with a variety of corporations and university labs. Further into the future are nanobots, particle-sized robots that could enter people’s blood streams or lungs.
I’m rehashing Manjoo shamelessly and I recommend reading his