The good folks at Darwin Aerospace have figured out how to use drones to parachute burritos directly onto your property. They await pending FAA reforms before they can go into business, however. Here's how it works:
It works like this:
You connect to the Burrito Bomber web-app and order a burrito. Your smartphone sends your current location to our server, which generates a waypoint file compatible with the drone's autopilot.
We upload the waypoint file to the drone and load your burrito in to our custom made Burrito Delivery Tube.
The drone flies to your location and releases the Burrito Delivery Tube. The burrito parachutes down to you, the drone flies itself home, and you enjoy your carne asada.
We built Burrito Bomber using a handful of open source projects and some new bits we created ourselves. All the code and 3D models we created for Burrito Bomber are on our GitHub page so you can build one too!
At the latest San Francisco Drone Olympics (now called DroneGames, thanks, no doubt, to awful bullying from the organized crime syndicate known as the International Olympic Committee), there were many fascinating entries, but the champion was James "substack" Halliday's Virus-Copter (github), which made wireless contact with its competitors, infected them with viruses that put them under its control, sent them off to infect the rest of the cohort, and then caused them to "run amok."
Many people have written to point out that Virus-Copter shares some DNA with one of the plot elements in my novel Pirate Cinema, but I assure you the resemblance is entirely coincidental. Drones, after all, are stranger than technothrillers.
node cross-compiled for the ARM chips running on the drones *
felixge's ar-drone module *
some iwconfig/iwlist wrappers in lib/iw.js *
open wireless networks in nodes.json (gathered by the deployment computer)
Essam Attia is NYC street artist who posted fake NYPD posters "reassuring" people about the ubiquitous surveillance of the department, especially via drones. The NYPD surveilled him, tracked him down and arrested him. Heck of a way to prove a point.
The NYDN reports that he's charged with "56 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, grand larceny possession of stolen property and weapons possession," the last (and possibly worst) charge coming because cops found an unloaded .22 pistol under his bed when they arrested him. On a practical level, Attia was not the most careful art criminal. He signed his work "ESSAM;" and he told Animal that he was a "a 29-year-old art-school grad from Maine, who served in Iraq as a 'geo-spatial analyst.'" It probably did not take an incredible amount of police work to narrow down the possibilities.
Seattle police want to spend at least $150,000 on more drone aircraft—even though they've got two they don't use.
Beyond conducting limited training exercises, SPD has never deployed the two drones it purchased in 2010 for $82,000. Furthermore, SPD department has no clear policy outlining how drones can be deployed in the field.
You just know that the chief of police sits there all day looking at Tactical Pens on Amazon, even though he's already got one in his pencil case.
Bay Area law enforcement agencies are considering aerial drones originally designed for military use "as a cost-cutting way to replace helicopters." The drones under consideration as crime-fighting, protest-eyeing, life-saving tools include "live-video-feeding capabilities and different features, like infrared devices" and can cost cities $50K to $100K and up. I'd presume that the string of news items like this from around the US points to stepped-up lobbying and marketing on the part of the drone manufacturers. (via punkboyinsf)— Xeni
The ETH Zurich quadcopter folks have added to their already impressive collection of videos of cooperative, autonomous quadcopters doing exciting things (previously) with this video of the adorable little gizmos throwing and catching balls together.
To toss the ball, the quadrocopters accelerate rapidly outward to stretch the net tight between them and launch the ball up. Notice in the video that the quadrocopters are then pulled forcefully inward by the tension in the elastic net, and must rapidly stabilize in order to avoid a collision. Once recovered, the quadrotors cooperatively position the net below the ball in order to catch it.
Because they are coupled to each other by the net, the quadrocopters experience complex forces that push the vehicles to the limits of their dynamic capabilities
AirPano created a breathtaking 360° interactive panorama of Egypt's Great Pyramids of Giza. The video above shows how AirPano collected the images that went into the panorama. How did they do it? As Greg from Daily Grail explains, "Just like the aliens that built the Giza pyramids, they used UFOs (or possibly remote-controlled drone-copters) to fly a panoramic camera up to certain points above the plateau in order to get the best possible view of these jaw-dropping structures." When I visited the pyramids as a 13-year-old, I was struck by how close the pyramids are to bustling Cairo. I imagined a long camel trek into the desert (hey, I was 13!) when it was really just a 15 minute taxi ride. Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt • 360° Aerial Panorama
Above, "The Bravo 300," a tactical drone manufactured in New Orleans by Crescent Unmanned Systems. Weeks after New Orleans local investigative paper The Lens began digging into city officials’ plans to use a U.S. Homeland Security Department aerial drone to monitor crowds at the upcoming Super Bowl, a spokesman for Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced that the city is no longer pursuing those plans.
Spokesman Ryan Berni offered no reason for dropping the eye-in-the-sky technology, telling a reporter to submit a public-records request. In a brief phone interview, he would say only that the decision to ditch the drone was made “over the past several days.” In a follow-up email, Berni said Homeland Security would be providing a manned helicopter, equipped with a camera, and that “the City learned by phone in the last few weeks” about the switch.
John sez, "MakerPlane is an open source aviation organization which will enable people to build and fly their own safe, high quality, reasonable cost plane using advanced personal manufacturing equipment such as CNC mills and 3D printers. The project will also include open source avionics software to enable state-of-the-art digital flight instruments and display capabilities. Basically we are designing an aircraft that can be built on a CNC mill at home, or at a makerspace which is easy to assemble and quick to build. The plans and instructions will be available for free to anyone that wants them!"
The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. military and border-patrol officials are teaming up on a new initiative to bring dozens of surveillance blimps from Afghanistan war zones to the Mexican border.
Over the next few weeks, the military will oversee a test in south Texas to determine if a 72-foot-long, unmanned surveillance blimp—sometimes called "the floating eye" when used to spot insurgents in Afghanistan—can help find drug runners and people trying to cross illegally into the U.S.
The project is part of a broader attempt by U.S. officials to establish a high-tech surveillance network along the border and find alternative uses for expensive military hardware that will be coming back from Afghanistan, along with the troops.
Tony from the StarShipSofa podcast sez, "This week on StarShipSofa we play the short story Malak, by science fiction writer Peter Watts. Malak was originally published in the anthology Engineering Infinity edited by Jonathan Strahan and views the world of a semi-autonomous combat drone called Azrael and throws in some very powerful ethical questions. A brilliant story from a brilliant writer."
Peter Galuszka writes in the Washington Post: "Imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when I heard a chopper noise I couldn’t identify. I looked up and maybe 150 feet off the ground was a light grey helicopter that seemed to hover over my property. It was clearly marked “NAVY” and was the size of a ubiquitous civilian Sky Ranger but with one big difference: This aircraft had no cockpit and no pilot." (via pourmecoffee) — Xeni
Here we see the traditional dance of the Missouri riot police, performed for three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly and her friends as they gathered at the Whiteman Air Force Base to protest the escalation of drone warfare. The rhythmic shuffle and banging makes for an impressive display, especially when accompanied by the dancers' ancestral garb and clubs.