What happens legally if you shoot someone's drone out of the sky?

Probably not much, as Brad Jones learned over Easter when a neighbor allegedly blasted his DJI Phantom. Even if his prime suspect confessed, there's not much precedent for prosecutions. Read the rest

How to defend yourself from hostile consumer drones, US Army Edition

The US Army has released "Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System Techniques," a manual for soldiers and commanders who find themselves in the field fighting forces that use modified consumer drones to gather intelligence and project force against them. Read the rest

Watch razor-wielding racing drone play real-life Fruit Ninja

Perhaps it's a rather dangerous idea but it is still creative and entertaining.

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DJI proposing "electronic license plates" for drones

Drone manufacturer DJI published a white paper proposing a kind of license plate for drones in the form of a wireless identifier that the buzzing UAVs would be required to broadcast. The paper describes a possible way to balance the privacy of drone operators with perceived public concern about whose controlling the bots buzzing overhead. You can read the full paper as a PDF here. From David Schneider's column in IEEE Spectrum:

As the company points out in its whitepaper, drone operators might want to maintain anonymity even if there were people around to witness their flights. Suppose, for example, that a company were surveying land in anticipation of purchasing and developing it. That company might not want to clue in competitors. Or perhaps the drone is being flown for the purposes of investigative journalism, in which case the journalists involved might not want others to know about their investigations.

DJI proposes that drones be required to broadcast an identifying code by radio . . . That code would not include the name and address of the owner, but authorities would be able to use it to look that information up in a non-public database—a kind of electronic license plates for drones.

At the same time, it’s easy to understand why law-enforcement or regulatory authorities would sometimes want to identify the owner or operator of a drone, say, if somebody felt the drone were invading their privacy or if a drone were being flown close to a nuclear power plant.

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Apple finally allowed drone strike alert app, then removed it again

Josh Begley doesn't give up easily. After 12 rejections, Apple finally allowed his app Metadata+ to be sold on iTunes. But what the App Store giveth, the App Store taketh away. Read the rest

Snap is developing drone for users to share overhead videos and photos: NYT report

One of the products that Snapchat owner Snap Inc. is developing as “a modern-day camera company” is a drone, reports the New York Times today.

Sources for this bold claim are “three people briefed on the project who asked to remain anonymous because the details are confidential.”

The drone would help users take videos and photographs from overhead, then share that visual data with Snap, and presumably, other users of the service.

Snap is scheduled to go public later this week in a long-anticipated IPO. Read the rest

Robotic drone bee pollinates flowers

Japanese researchers demonstrated how a tiny remote-controlled drone could help bees pollinate flowers in areas where bees populations have been reduced due to pesticides, climate change, and other factors. Eijiro Myako and his colleagues at the Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology hope that eventually robotic bees could handle their share of the work autonomously. From New Scientist:

The manually controlled drone is 4 centimetres wide and weighs 15 grams. The bottom is covered in horsehair coated in a special sticky gel. When the drone flies onto a flower, pollen grains stick lightly to the gel, then rub off on the next flower visited.

In experiments, the drone was able to cross-pollinate Japanese lilies (Lilium japonicum). Moreover, the soft, flexible animal hairs did not damage the stamens or pistils when the drone landed on the flowers...

“We hope this will help to counter the problem of bee declines,” says Miyako. “But importantly, bees and drones should be used together.”

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Biodegradable single-use cardboard drones for remote deliveries

Drones are great for some kinds of deliveries, but operators usually want to recover their costly drone. For deliveries of medicine or supplies to remote areas, it may be more feasible to use cheap drones with a programmed one-way route. That's where ASPARA (Aerial Platform Supporting Autonomous Resupply Actions) comes in. Read the rest

Tesla autopilot warns of accident about to happen to the cars in front

In this footage from Europe, the autopilot on a Tesla warns driver Frank van Hoesel of an accident about to happen. He doesn't even realize why his car is braking suddenly until he sees the crash occur—forty yards away. Read the rest

Sweaters for drones

Drone Sweaters: knitted or crocheted woolen garments to keep your aerial drones snug and warm in flight.
While this may at first appear to be a light concern to those who would scoff at the idea of dressing a drone, there are still many drone owners who have seen their drones shiver violently after exposure to winter temperatures but hesitate to put clothing on their drones for fear of appearing odd. Well, have no fear. If you are concerned about your drone being cold, there is certainly no harm in putting clothing on them.

Just $189 each! Read the rest

New flying robots inspired by creatures of the skies

Biomimickry continues to improve and refine specialized drones and flying robots. Mindy Weisberger at LiveScience dives into an issue of The Royal Society's journal Interface Focus on coevolving advances in animal flight and aerial robotics. Read the rest

China's Navy just seized a U.S. military drone that was underwater in the South China Sea

The Cold Drone Wars have begun. In a first-of-its-kind military standoff, the Chinese Navy has taken possession of an underwater autonomous drone deployed by a U.S. oceanographic vessel in the South China Sea.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates on Obama's blackness, America's white supremacy, and Trump's victory

Ta-Nehisi Coates's 17,000-word history of the Obama presidency in the Atlantic is called "My President Was Black," but it's about the very special kind of blackness that Obama embodied -- not because whites saw the biracial politician differently, but because Obama's extraordinarily supportive white family and unique boyhood in Hawai'i spared him the racial trauma visited on other young black people in America. Read the rest

Science fiction short shot with semi-autonomous drones

Tim Maughan writes, "Thanks to all the Boing Boing crew that checked out the trailer for our Detroit LIDAR film, it'll be out soon - in the meantime our film IN THE ROBOT SKIES is now up to stream. The first narrative film shot entirely by semi-autonomous drones, it's a love story set on a highly surveilled housing estate in London. Written by me, directed by Liam Young, with music by Forest Swords." Read the rest

Here are the devastating capabilities of the weapons Obama will leave behind for Trump

Even the extreme legal theories of the George W Bush administration were mild compared to some of the "compromise" positions Obama's DoJ argued for, and now Donald J Trump gets to use those positions to further its own terrifying agenda of mass deportations, reprisals against the press, torture and assassination, and surveillance based on religious affiliation or ethnic origin. Read the rest

Watch man's confused reaction at drone that fell from the sky

A GoPro Karma drops from the sky and lands at a surprised and confused bystander's feet. As this was not an isolated incident, GoPro recalled the Karma.

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Man who flew hot dog to his hot tub faces fine, but isn't this just an ad?

The Australian man who sent a drone to pick up a hot dog, then return it to him in his backyard hot tub, is in trouble with the law.

The BBC reports that the aerial meat journey breached local drone flight safety rules.

"Tim," as he is anonymously known, reports that the hot dog was "freezing" anyway by the time it got to him.

There's something a bit fishy about it. It's all sourced to "YouTube video", but the BBC heavily edited and rehosted the video and doesn't link to either YouTube or the original story at The Age. It doesn't even name it, instead calling it "local media". Go looking for it, and the only thing on YouTube seems to be a ripped and reuploaded version of a professionally-produced ad for a hot dog shop that isn't on YouTube.

There's an interesting ethical question for you: if something viral is newsworthy (Man Fined Over Hot Tub Hot Dog), but not newsworthy enough to do any real work reporting out whether it's a marketing stunt or not, how clever can you be in removing non-newsworthy elements that might be The Marketing Part?

After all, you might get it wrong. You know, like that thing where I carefully avoid using the word "GoPro" when posting that "GoPro footage of Badgers Skydiving" video, but fail to notice that all the badgers are wearing North Face. Read the rest

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