What to do if your parachute fails

Jumping out of a plane from 12,500 feet is exhilarating fun, until that parachute of yours decides to jam. Don't panic, this instructional video will help you get to that book deal. You'll be shaking hands with Al Roker in no time.

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Skydiving robot to capture video of skydivers

The Freefall Camera (FFC) is a robot that can be tossed out of a plane to autonomously track and capture video of skydivers doing tricks. At a predetermined altitude, the robot pops its steerable parachute and lands near specified GPS coordinates. The University of Nottingham researchers who developed the Freefall Camera presented their work at last week's International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. From IEEE Spectrum:

Building a robot that can successfully control its position and terminal velocity relative to another falling object is not something that’s been done before. There are freefall cameras designed to work in microgravity, but that’s a much different challenge: this camera has to be able to maneuver in a 120 mph (190 km/h) stream of air, which is all about passive aerodynamics. To steer itself, the FFC uses four vertical ailerons to control yaw (and eventually horizontal position), along with a pair of retractable flaps that increase or decrease the robot’s drag to slow it down or speed it up. A GoPro does the recording while a CMUcam5 vision sensor tracks colored blobs to stay locked onto its subject...

The tests showed that the FCC could generally track a human within 0.25 meters vertically, and 12 degrees of the center of the camera’s field of view. Occasionally, the camera would get confused by backgrounds or bright lights, so the next incarnation of the system will use an infrared beacon for tracking instead.

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Video from camera falling from airplane and landing in pig pen

An oldie but goodie. I was expecting the GoPro logo to pop up at the end.

"Camera falls from a sky diving airplane and lands on my property in my pig pen. I found the camera 8 months later and viewed this video."

(via Kottke)

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Skydiver loses then retrieves shoe mid-flight

A hapless skydiver who lost his shoe shortly after jumping from the plane was able to recover it mid-air, even having time to put it back on. Read the rest

A most relaxing skydiving video

The skydiving video genre is rife with energy drink ad clichés, so "Strings Attached" by Johannes Bergfors feels very calming. The divers do some innovative formations as well, and Bergfors' camera work is really nice. Read the rest