Inside Drones - August 5th, 2016

Inside Drones (Aug 5th, 2016)

Drones will soon take on stippling, a dot drawing technique used in the creation of large-scale outdoor murals. McGill University’s computer science school has programmed a fleet of tiny drones, each with a miniature arm holding an ink-soaked sponge. The drones can fit in the palm of one’s hand, and are so tiny that a slight air current can throw them off-target. So far, the drones have rendered portraits of Alan Turing, Che Guevara, and Grace Kelly. – I4U

This summer, for the first time, drones have helped ecologists increase the accuracy of Hawaiian whale and dolphin population surveys. A representative for Ocean Alliance says, “I believe that drones for conservation and research are akin to the invention of the microscope for cellular biology.” Of particular importance is that fact that small drones don’t bother or scare off the animals they’re surveying. – CSM

The U.S. Military has introduced the Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System (MAARS), a machine-gun toting drone. Traveling at a speed up to 7 mph and capable of holding a charge for 10 hours, it can potentially walk alongside marines on a mission. It can also be used to drag the wounded off the battlefield. As far as machine-gunning, the drone just handles the heavy lifting and stabilization, with live marines on the trigger. – FOX NEWS

The University of Nebraska is testing a fireball-launching drone designed to help fight wildfires. Firefighters light a test area with drip torches, then the drones take wing over the blackened grass to drop what look like ping-pong balls. The balls are filled with glycol, and when they’re dropped they ignite their own fires that can help contain and direct the larger wildfire. – NPR

South Korean drone giant DJI is opening a high-tech drone arena south of Seoul. The 1400-square-meter space boasts an adjustable LED-lit circuit for race training (with touches of “Tron” ambience) and a maintenance room where minor damage to drones can be fixed. And it offers rained-out drone enthusiasts a place to play (or “do research”) year-round. – DIGITAL TRENDS

The cleverly-named STAAKER drone will follow a user wearing a linked heavy-duty smart wristband at up to 50 mph. This makes it ideal for “hardcore athletes” to film themselves pulling off (or not pulling off) extreme sports stunts. The STAAKER carries a GoPro camera with a 3-axis brushless motor gimbal for stabilization. – SLASHGEAR

Sean Scott, an Australian man shooting video of an enormous crocodile, excitedly captured the moment when the animal lurched forward and “almost ate” the drone.Crocodiles are so ancient, they’re been around for millions of years and suddenly there’s this electric drone thing buzzing around,” Scott said, summing up the crocodile’s presumed reaction to the experience rather well. – UPI

The British Horse Society (BHS) charity organization has issued a request that drone pilots keep their drones away from areas where they know horses may be. The concerns source from the death of Fimber, a horse from the West Yorkshire Police’s mounted unit. Spooked by a drone buzzing his paddock, Fimber tried to jump a fence and collided with a wooden post, dying of his injuries on the way to the vet. – HORSE AND HOUND UK



The FBI has released drone video taken during last year's Baltimore riots. – ABC

Two foreigners were arrested in Kathmandu on Monday for flying a camera-equipped drone. The men are from Russia and Kazakhstan. – HIMALAYAN TIMES

A Columbus, Ohio man who approached a group of children claiming to be looking for his lost drone is in custody after stabbing a woman and child who offered to help him. – NBC
Straightbar, a user at the DIY drones subreddit, has a problem and a plan: "Lost my drone today. Want to build another one if I don't recover it tomorrow." After sharing his specs for the replacement drone, other members offer consolation over the lost drone: Vandilbg says "My expectation from playing disk golf for many years is you will come out of the woods with 2 other drones but in the end will be unsuccessful in finding your own." User kamnxt asks, "Do you have telemetry on your TX? Have you tried using it to search for it?"; D--smoker2 (what happened to D--smoker1?) later asks "Did you find it?" to which straightbar repiles, crestfallen, "Nah I think it'll be gone forever d---smoker, spent a good 8 hours looking for it since it flew away." 

At the same forum, StrangetotheMax posts, "New to drones and I want to program one. Should I build one myself or just buy a cheap one and modify it?" Firehawk11 says, "Building it would have many benefits. Programming things that fly requires programming a lot of things that crash immediately, and that's just setting up a quad with a flight controller already 99% programmed. You're going to be building and rebuilding, it's best to start from step one so you know what step to go to when something breaks." Pyryoer writes, "If you just want a simple platform that you can jump right into programming, get an AR drone 2."
Wolfcry0 recommends, "Build one with an APM type flight controller, they use the same processor as an arduino and their code is open. You could either work with their (very good) code and modify it, or make your own from scratch," and adds, "You'll likely break a whole lot of drones if you do this, so plan on having extra money around."
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