Spocko sez, "In this commercial for a cell phone screen protector product, a quadcopter flies up to some fruit, sodas and a cell phones and shoots them with a remote controlled handgun.
The company, Clearplex, has many videos of it's screen protector products being shot at, so this one is a natural, although creepy, extension of that series.
The video is edited so it's hard to know how accurate the quad-copter is, but consider how apparently easy creating this one was,what's the next step?"
Drone vs Phone: Samsung Galaxy S IV - GunDrone
(art by Daniel Martin Diaz)
Earlier today, we published my story
"By His Things Will You Know Him," which is from the forthcoming Institute for the Future
anthology "An Aura of Familiarity: Visions from the Coming Age of Networked Matter
." I've read the story aloud for my podcast
, if that's how you prefer your fiction.
TRAQ is a senior project from a group of Northeastern University engineering students; it's a quadcopter that seeks out and homes in on radio signals. As they write, "The quadcopter's potential applications include disaster relief, surveillance, search-and-rescue, and stolen goods recovery."
I'm interested in the technology as a way to get cameras automatically directed to hotspots in places like Gezi Park -- the drones could automatically focus on police based on their emergency radios, ensuring that the cops were always in shot.
The Hubsan X4 quadcopter is a tiny, cheap copter with enough power to
do flips, enough smarts to stay level and pointing right, and enough
tough to drop from 50 foot onto grass without damage. It flies for ten
minutes or so and recharges from USB. The separately available spares
package include copious spare blades, a spare shell and a spare
It's cheap (under £30), includes a remote control and is an absolute
blast to fly. It can handle quite a fresh wind and is fast enough that
it's best fun outdoors, though it appears that people more skilled than
I can also fly it indoors. Without hitting things.
BTW, important hint: connect the power when the copter is on a level
surface. If you don't, it's impossible to fly.
Hubsan X4 H107 R/C Micro Quad Copter
2.4GHZ [Amazon UK]
The Hubsan X4 H107 Quadcopter Crash
Pack [Amazon UK]
Hubsan X4 H107 R/C Micro Quad Copter
2.4GHZ [Amazon US]
The Hubsan X4 H107 Quadcopter Crash
Pack [Amazon US]
"Hi, and welcome to Game of Drones, the new show where we design, build, and fight unmanned aerial vehicles." A fun show with a lot of good info for budding drone enthusiasts.
Here's a video showing off a publicity stunt in which Domino's delivers one of its "pizzas" using a drone (and, it appears, two or three cameradrones to document the event). The "pizza" is packed in an electrified, heated bag to keep it warm during the high altitude flight. Their publicity material promises a Domino's flight academy to train their deliverator corps to safely navigate the fast-food-filled skies and prevent midair collisions with flying Chinese takeouts, kebabs, curries, and package liquor delivery.
Introducing the Domino's DomiCopter!
(via Digg Videos)
German railway operator Deutche Bahn is to target graffiti artists with surveillance drones
: "The idea is to use airborne infra-red cameras to collect evidence, which could then be used to prosecute vandals who deface property at night."
DroneShield is an indieGOGO project from a DC aerospace engineer that aims to build a tiny, net-connected drone-detector/identifier. Based on a Raspberry Pi gumstick computer, it uses a mic to detect the audio signature of nearby drones, and then communicates about its findings over the Internet. The project promises free/open hardware and software specs on its main site. Ars Technica's Cyrus Farivar spoke to Chris Kyriakakis, a USC electrical engineering prof, who suggests the project is feasible, but believes it will need an array of mics for accurate identification. But John Franklin, who's running the effort, says the device will produce useful -- if imperfect -- output even with one mic.
The fully assembled drone detector costs at least $69 as a pre-order (as with all crowdfunded project, it's important to remember that you may never get your device). The project goal is to get them down to $20. For my part, I wonder how this would perform against active countermeasures: it's one thing to detect drones that aren't making any effort to remain hidden or fool detectors about which drone they are, but what about a drone that uses some technology (from playing a recording of a different drone to full-on modifications of its engines and blades) to sound different?
In any event, I expect that this is an intermediate step on the way to this thing disappearing into our phones and becoming an app that would make use of its open database of drone acoustic signatures. I can easily imagine a Drone Foursquare made by volunteers who upload drone "sightings" to realtime maps as they move around the world.
Meet Drone Shield, an ambitious idea for a $70 drone detection system
I bought Jane a $60 quadcopter from Banggood for her 10th birthday. One of the motor wires was broken on arrival so I had to solder it back on, and the battery charger was for a European power outlet so I broke it open and soldered on a US plug. Now it works and it's a lot of fun. It has a built in video camera, too!
It has two control modes. Mode 1 is the "beginner mode," which doesn't allow for tight turns. We like Mode 2, because it's actually easier to control. You can flip the captor 360 with the touch of a button on the transmitter, which Jane loves.
Here's a video of Jane flying it and me being paranoid that she's going to get it stuck in a tree. She ends up landing it in the street, and I say a naughty word.
Designed by Bitcraze
, the Crazyflie Nano Quadcopter is an open source development kit to make your own tiny drones. It's $173 from Seeed Studio Depot and looks like great fun to make and fly! "Crazyflie Nano Quadcopter Kit 10-DOF with Crazyradio
Above is a US Navy demonstration of a high-energy laser on a moving ship shooting down a drone. The Office of Naval Research just announced that they plan to deploy the system next year. "Our conservative data tells us a shot of directed energy costs under $1," Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder said. "Compare that to the hundreds of thousands of dollars it costs to fire a missile, and you can begin to see the merits of this capability." (Navy.mil)
Redditor Federal Reservations has made a handy post enumerating all the regressive, authoritarian, corporatist policies enacted by the Obama administration in its one-and-a-bit terms. You know, for someone the right wing press likes to call a socialist, Obama sure makes Richard Nixon look like Che Guevara. And what's more, this is only a partial list, and excludes the parade of copyright horrors and bad Internet policy emanating from the White House, via Joe Biden's push for Six Strikes, the US Trade Rep's push for secret Internet censorship and surveillance treaties like TPP and ACTA and TAFTA; the DoJ's push to criminalize every Internet user by expanding the CFAA, and much, much more.
Obama extends Patriot Act without reform - 
Signs NDAA 2011 (and 2012, and 2013) - 
Appeals the Federal Court decision that “indefinite detention” is unconstitutional - 
Double-taps a 16-year-old American-born US citizen living in Yemen, weeks after the boy's father was killed. Administration's rationale? He "should have [had] a far more responsible father" - 
Continues to approve drone strikes that kill thousands of innocent civilians including women and children in Pakistan, Yemen, and other countries that do not want the US intervening; meanwhile, according to the Brookings Institute's Daniel Byman, we are killing 10 civilians for every one mid- to high- level Al Qaeda/Taliban operative. This is particularly disturbing, since now any military-aged male in a strike zone is now officially considered an enemy combatant - 
Protects Bush’s war crimes as State Secrets -   
Waives sections of a law meant to prevent the recruitment of child soldiers in Africa in order to deepen military relationship with countries that have poor human rights records -
Read the rest
Expect to see a lot fewer images of toxic sludge creeping through small communities, thanks to the hard work of ExxonMobil. The company could have used its prodigious resources to make its oil pipelines more secure, preventing town-destroying leaks like the one that hit Mayflower, Arkansas. But they figured out that it would be cheaper to just corrupt the local law to chase reporters out and get the FAA to establish a Temporary Flight Restriction zone over the spill. Problem solved!
Michael Hibblen, who reports for the radio station KUAR, went to the spill site on Wednesday with state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. McDaniel was in the area to inspect the site and hold a news conference, and Hibblen and a small group of reporters were following him to report on the visit. Upon arrival, representatives from the county sheriff's office, which is running security at the site, directed the reporters to a boundary point 10 feet away that they should not pass. The reporters agreed to comply. But the tone shifted abruptly, Hibblen told Mother Jones on Friday:
It was less than 90 seconds before suddenly the sheriff's deputies started yelling that all the media people had to leave, that ExxonMobil had decided they don't want you here, you have to leave. They even referred to it as "Exxon Media"…Some reporters were like, "Who made this decision? Who can we talk to?" The sheriff's deputies started saying, "You have to leave. You have 10 seconds to leave or you will be arrested."
Hibblen says he didn't really have time to deal with getting arrested, since he needed to file his report on the visit for both the local affiliate and national NPR. (You can hear his piece on the AG's visit here.) KUAR has also reported on Exxon blocking reporters' access to the spill site.
Reporters Say Exxon Is Impeding Spill Coverage in Arkansas
Marc from the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC
) sez, "The Electronic Privacy Information Center has published a petition
to the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, demanding the suspension of the drone program pending the development of privacy regulations for the use of drones in US airspace. Documents recently obtained
by EPIC under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that the drones are equipped with technology for signals interception and human identification. The agency currently operates ten Predator B drones along the border region, an area that encompasses more than two-thirds of the U.S. population. EPIC is urging individuals and organizations to Sign the Petition before March 18. Under federal law, the agency is required to respond to public petitions."
Trevor Timm at Freedom of the Press Foundation
: "In the wake of the government's secret legal rationale for the targeted killing
of American citizens leaking to the press, President Obama has now twice vowed to bring more transparency to national security issues, and in particular, drone strikes. Yet since his two statements, his administration has instead moved to prevent more information from reaching Congress, the courts, and the public." — Xeni