Cleo is a donut-shaped drone with a single propellor in the center, which steers by changing the airflow direction, so its blades are entirely contained – and can't be easily broken when the drone collides with something.
A IEEE notes:
It’s immediately obvious just how friendly this design is. It fits in a pocket without needing to be disassembled or folded, and there’s nothing externally fragile that you have to protect. It’s safe to hold, and so grabbable that you can snatch it right out of the air. Collisions with obstacles (including people) shouldn’t damage either the drone or whatever it runs into, and with all of the moving parts so well protected, it seems like it has to be much more durable than anything with exposed rotors.
As for me, though, when I saw it I had an instant acid flashback to ... the Avrocar.
Fans of Canadian aerospace arcana will be familiar with the Avrocar. It was the invention of Avro Canada, a Canadian aerospace firm that flourished in the 40s and 50s by producing aircraft for military and commercial use. In the late 50s they began working for the US military on a disk-shaped flying craft that would hover in the air by venting exhaust out the bottom and sides. But the engineers could never figure out how to make it stable enough to fly more than a few feet above the ground, so the project was cancelled in 1961, and Avro itself soon collapsed.
The Avrocar is a fave of UFO military-conspiracy theorists, as you might expect. You can see the craft in action in this video – it's thoroughly bonkers:
The distorted text was bad enough, but these grainy photos with slivers of this and that are getting ridiculous. I’m with the people who suspect it’s some kind of free labor mechanical turk AI bot training. And what of esoteric definitional matters like this:
In this paper, law professor Lynn Lopucki ponders the question: What happens if you turn over control of a corporate entity to an AI? Pretty terrible stuff. Odds are high you’d see them emerge first in criminal enterprises, as ways of setting up entities that engage in nefarious activities but cannot be meaningfully punished (in […]
Cathy “Weapons of Math Destruction” O’Neil nailed Trump’s tactics when she compared him to a busted machine-learning algorithm, throwing a ton of random ideas out, listening for his base to cheer the ones that excited their worst instincts, and then doubling down on them.
As the summer surges forward, grilling and evenings in the backyard may be the only serious outdoor excursions many of us take this season. Yet even with all of our current problems, there’s one group who doesn’t care a bit about COVID-19 and will still look to make any trip you make outside into an […]
With all due respect to our vegetarian friends, there might be nothing more intrinsically linked to the 4th of July holiday than a big ole cookout. Sure, fireworks and celebrating the birth of a constitutional republic are great too, but showing off your cooking prowess with a brilliantly seared, mouth-watering slab of grade-A American beef […]
We’re at the midway point of 2020. So…how’s the year going for you so far? Yeah…we can guess. But while there’s a lot about 2020 we can’t directly control, maybe a little retail therapy can help make you feel better. Sure, the 39 items we gathered together can absolutely bring a smile to your face. […]