Can Drones See Through Curtains? Will They In the Future?

Last updated November 16th, 2019
A plan on a window sill with curtains

Drones have long been a cause for concern among those who believe that they could be used to infringe on our right to privacy.

Now there are even more concerns as people suspect drones can be equipped to see through curtains. Or at the very least, they could be equipped to do so in the future.

Can Recreational Drones See Through Curtains?

Only if those curtains were not drawn and the drone was floating no more than a few feet from your curtains. So, exactly the same as a person stood outside your window.

As of now, there are no recreational drones that are equipped with cameras that could see through curtains — or through walls for that matter. The closest thing to this would be thermal imaging drones like the Parrot Anafi.

And you don’t have to worry about a drone sneaking up to your window and spying on you without your knowledge. This is because they are very noisy devices.

Think of drones like electric weed strimmers that fly. It can be pretty hard to not notice them when they fly close enough to your house.

And once you close the curtains or your windows, the caliber of camera that most drones are equipped with would not be powerful enough to get any image worth worrying about.

For the drones that do carry heavier and better cameras, you can expect more noise from them, making it even harder for them to stealthily spy on you.

Long story short, a drone has to come as close as possible to a wide open window to see into your house. Any drone floating some distance away is nothing to worry about. And if a drone does come hovering a few feet from your open window, you can be sure it is up to no good and do something about it.

Can Military Drones See Through Curtains?

Militaries have drones that are equipped with powerful visual capabilities — drones such as the RQ-1, which is the reconnaissance version of the predator drone, and also the Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System (PRS), which is a drone tiny enough to sit in a human palm.

But here is the thing: these drones are not meant to spy through civilian windows. There are probably more efficient and stealthier ways the government could spy on a civilian’s home without scary devices like the predator.

The RQ-1 and the Black Hornet are meant to scout out enemy forces and obstacles on the battlefield so that ground forces and commanders can adapt in time.

They are meant to give information on the opposing army before the first wave arrives — not spy on them while they take a bath.

Unless you are living a life that is far more exciting than the average Joe and Jane, you probably have no need to fear the military cutting through a significant amount of red tape to use prime military assets to spy through your curtains.

Why Might This Rumor Exist?

Privacy concerns persist despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of drone pilots operate responsibly.

And the reason for this is that drones have all the makings of highly effective spy devices.

They have the ability to get close to their targets, surmount obstacles, and navigate tight spaces. They can be equipped with cameras and listening devices to capture sensitive data and intel.

Drones can also be used to carry weapons and carry out sophisticated cyber-attacks.

Most importantly, this can all be done remotely, without a criminal needing to be at the scene of the crime.

But the truth is that a lot of what we fear about drones and privacy is a stretch.

Most drone cameras would not even be able to see through a smudged window on a clear day, talk less of one with the curtains drawn across.

Might Drones Be Able to Spy Through Curtains in the Future?

Drones are very much a reflection of the current state of technology. They evolved from a preserve of the military and became mainstream as a result of the right technologies becoming available.

As our technology advances, you can expect that the capabilities of drones will advance with it.

Another thing that will evolve with the tech and drones is the set of regulations governing their use.

Maybe one day we will have drones that will be capable of seeing through curtains or hearing conversations from a mile away.

But you can also expect that regulations will be put in place to ensure that these innovations remain in the hands of vetted pilots who will be expected to use them responsibly.

But for now, you have nothing to worry about should you hear a drone flying over your roof one day as you step into the shower.

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