Drones find over 50 new enormous artworks etched into the Peruvian desert

National Geographic reports exclusively on a project in Peru using low-altitude drones to identify dozens of ancient geoglyphs undetectable by the unassisted human eye. Read the rest

Fancy new geoglyphs discovered in Peru

Those thousands of drawings in the desert of southern Peru that we call the Nazca Lines? They're so yesterday. According to National Geographic, all of the cool kids know that the geoglyphs worth paying attention to are those new ground etchings that archaeologists recently grokked in Peru's Palpa province.

Through the use of drones and satellite imagery, 50 new examples of geoglyphs were discovered by archeologists. Many of the ground drawings were so fine or well hidden that they are almost too obscure to see with the human eye:

From National Geographic:

Some of the newfound lines belong to the Nasca culture, which held sway in the area from 200 to 700 A.D. However, archaeologists suspect that the earlier Paracas and Toparácultures carved many of the newfound images between 500 B.C. and 200 A.D.

Unlike the iconic Nasca lines—most of which are only visible from overhead—the older Paracas glyphs were laid down on hillsides, making them visible to villages below. The two cultures also pursued different artistic subjects: Nasca lines most often consist of lines or polygons, but many of the newfound Paracas figures depict humans.

More likely than not, the new geoglyphs might not have been found at all, were it not for the fact that the nearby Nasca lines are currently undergoing restoration to sort out the damage caused by a Greenpeace publicity stunt in 2014 and this guy, earlier this year. While mapping out the damaged areas of the lines, volunteers from GlobalXplorer noted the previously undiscovered line work. Read the rest

People pissed at parish for drone delivery of eucharist

The congregation of Brazil's São Geraldo Magela church seemed delighted as a drone outfitted with a monstrance containing the eucharist floats up the aisle to their priest at the altar. Once the video was posted to Facebook though, some devout Catholics flipped out, calling it "scandalous" and a "profanation." According to the Catholic Herald, blogger priest John Zuhlsdorf criticized the stunt as "sacrilegious silliness." Read the rest

Watch military swarm drones lock on and surround a target

Autonomous weapon bans (previously) are currently being debated, but in the meantime, the US Department of Defense continues work with its Perdix Micro-Drone project. Ostensibly for surveillance, it's clear these could easily be modded with lethal weaponry. Read the rest

Trailer for Elevation, a film on how drones will change cities

Dezeen interview leading architects and designers around the world for Elevation, a new documentary on how drones will change cities. Speculative architect Liam Young points out, "Now that drones are in the hands of every person in the street, they're potentially as disruptive as the internet." Read the rest

DIY model rocket with drone nose cone for vertical landing

RC Lover San built this killer model rocket that uses a standard engine to launch before firing up its nose cone quadcopter to stick a vertical landing.

"Landing a Rocket Vertically, Without Being a Billionaire Aka Rocket Drone" (Instructables via MAKE) Read the rest

Watch these test flights of Cora, an all-electric air taxi

According to their website, Cora is a fixed-wing craft powered by 12 independent lift fans, which enable it to take off and land vertically like a helicopter. Therefore, Cora has no need for a runway. Read the rest

People are flying around in these jumbo personal drones in China [VIDEO]

Between this and Starman's Tesla in space, it's a weird week.

Read the rest

Flybrix: "rebuildable, crash-friendly drones" made from Lego

Flybrix kits allow you to turn a variety of Lego builds into little copter-drones that you can fly with an app or a Bluetooth joystick. Read the rest

Drunk droning is now against the law in New Jersey

As of Monday, there is a new kind of "DUI" in New Jersey: Droning Under the Influence. On his final day of being New Jersey's (incredibly unpopular) governor, Chris Christie signed a law making it illegal to fly an unmanned drone aircraft drunk or under the influence of drugs.

Reuters reports:

The law prohibits flying a drone with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher, the same as for driving a vehicle, or while drugged. Violators face up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine or both. The measure, which passed the Democratic-controlled state legislature earlier this month, also bars flying a drone near a prison or in pursuit of wildlife. The drone measure was among 109 bills that Christie signed into law on his last full day in office, spokesman Brian Murray said by email. Christie’s successor, Democrat Phil Murphy, is to be sworn in on Tuesday.

photo by Andrew Turner Read the rest

Drone footage of huge fissure opening behind imminent landslide

The Yakima Herald posted this video, shot by Steven Mack, of a growing fissue on Rattlesnake Ridge near Yakima, Wa.

I-82, seen in the footage, is only threatened in "less likely scenarios." The county has pre-emptively declared an official disaster.

The city of Union Gap also declared a disaster, allowing officials to request the help they'll need when the hillside comes down.

The big question remains "When will the slide happen?" State geologists now say they don't expect a landslide event until sometime between late January and early March.

"The honest answer is no one knows for certain. There are a number of possibilities. The most likely scenario is that the landslide will continue to slowly move to the south, where the landslide mass will fall into the quarry pit and accumulate. Monitoring data suggests most of the mass will remain in the pit and on the hillside," the Washington state Department of Natural Resources said on its website.

I've roughly marked the hill that's coming down on this google maps image. Most of it will just fill the quarry you see to the bottom right, apparently.

At least 20 people were killed over the weekend after landslides and flooding in California. Read the rest

Watch this FPV drone pilot have fun buzzing around a train

This dizzying display of drone-piloting skills is not only impressive, but the locale is simply gorgeous. Watch as NURK FPV takes a sunset flight through a scenic river valley as a train passes through. Read the rest

Otherworldly nightscapes shot with spotlight-equipped drone

The Dying Of The Light is a project shot by sfdrones.tv in the nighttime desert, but with a spotlight so bright that it reaches the intensity of daylight. Read the rest

Drones to airdrop hundreds of thousands of mosquitos to fight disease

One approach to fight mosquito-borne diseases is to introduce huge numbers of sterilized male mosquitos to beat out the wild males in competition for female mosquitos. The challenge is that it's expensive to airdrop the mosquitos from airplanes and often difficult to traverse developing nations by ground. Now, WeRobotics has prototyped a drone that carries hundreds of thousands of mosquitos and releases them at just the right moment. The first experiments in South or Central America will take place in the next few months. From IEEE Spectrum:

The goal is to pack as many mosquitoes as possible into the drone. However, clumping is a problem because the insects form “a big collection of legs and wings,” he says. The trick, according to Klaptocz, is to keep them inside a precooled container: “Between 4 °C and 8 °C, they’ll fall asleep, and you can pack them up fairly densely.”

It’s also important to control the release of the mosquitoes, rather than dumping them out all at once. “We tried different systems to get the mosquitoes out of the holding canister, including vibrations and a treadmill,” he says. “Right now, we’re using a rotating element with holes through which individual mosquitoes can fall.” Once the mosquitoes fall out of the canister, they spend a few seconds in a secondary chamber warming up to the outside air temperature before exiting the drone, to make sure they’re awake and ready to fly.

Read the rest

StratoEnergetics introduces new Slaughterbot autonomous weapon

Looking like an iPhone rollout or creepy TED Talk, this sci-fi PSA from the group Stop Autonomous Weapons looks at a possible near future of autonomous drones trained to kill a specific human target. Read the rest

Animation of an elegant air traffic nightmare caused by a drone

A drone, spotted over Gatwick Airport, led to an abundance of caution among air traffic controllers. The result: a growing armada of inbound flights redirected into increasingly-chaotic epicycles over southern England, a crap solar system of annoyed travelers. [via] Read the rest

Chris Anderson: Drone mogul and former bass player for REM (no, not *that* REM).

(Photo: Joi Ito, CC-BY)

He’s not the only major figure in the world of tech and ideas who goes by Chris Anderson. His namesake runs the TED conference - whereas the Chris Anderson of this article was Editor-in-Chief of Wired for twelve years. During that stint, he co-founded a company that helped launch the consumer drone industry, which he now runs (the company - not the industry).

There are those who think these guys are one solitary, mega overachiever, but no. They could settle who has rights to the name through some kind of brainy public smackdown - the nerd equivalent of a battle of the bands, say. But not a chance. This Chris Anderson has been through that once already. With his band. They were called REM.

No - not that REM. That REM clobbered Team Chris in musical combat back in 1991 (at the storied 9:30 club in Washington), winning rights to the name. Chris’s band then took Mike Mills’ suggestion that they rebrand as Egoslavia – a clever-ish name back when Yugoslavia wasn’t just a fading memory and a handful of spinoffs.

Chris and I cover this, plus the story of his impressively misspent youth in an hour-plus interview you can listen to right here (or by typing the name of the podcast series – “After On” – into the search bar of your favorite podcast app):

But we mainly talk about drones, his company (3D Robotics, or 3DR), and how he launched and grew it to millions in revenues in partnership with a Tijuana teen, while winning awards for running the world’s most influential tech magazine as a day job. Read the rest

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