The good old United States Air Force has been toiling away on a project that is just as likely to inspire awe and amazement as it is to incite nightmares and “what if?” scenarios. They’re called Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs), but you can also refer to them as tiny self-sustaining death machines.There’s been a lot of talk in the news over the last couple of years about military drones. People usually hear that term and envision giant air missiles taking out specific targets. But what the Air Force has been working on is something with far more intelligence and — potentially — far more wide-reaching implications.Imagine if one of those little remote control flying helicopters from Brookstone was infused with military technology, and you have the basic concept of MAVs — capable of navigating small spaces, flying around inconspicuously, and filled with deadly intent. Oh, and if you think that these little guys are pretty limited once they’re out in the wild, think again. They can draw power from environmental sources, like sunlight or wind. They can supposedly even latch on to man-made power lines to get a recharge.That’s not all they can do. They can be equipped with fly-like “smart wings,” which can detect when there are oncoming wind gusts, allowing the drone to shift its balance to remain airborne. Other technologies are also embedded in the small fliers, like “Optic Flow,” which allows for signal communication even in terrains where things like GPS are unavailable.MAVs can even work in tandem with one another, whether it’s using one drone as bait and then allowing the others to complete a mission, or multiple MAVs working together to create a more comprehensive understanding of their surroundings. And once they reach their target, they can use any number of potential attacks — incapacitating liquids, combustible payloads, explosives, or good old-fashioned precision shooting.MAVs don’t have to be used for offensive purposes, of course. They might even be more effective as reconnaissance devices, and could even be used to scope out areas for signs of nuclear or other chemical threats.The best part of all is that they are sustainable. So one MAV could be used to carry out several missions. Obviously the implications of such technology becoming widespread are vast. It’s the 2010s — nuclear warfare is so passe. It’s all about drones now, as a recent National Geographic feature points out, and MAVs just might be the catalyst that starts to spread true fear.