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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Sep 9th, 2016)

Today in drone news: Pouncer edible drone, Chipotle delivers, Footage of kayaker swimming with orca, Football practice, S.L.A.M Dunk Dev Kit, Dobby "selfie" drone, Dronesurfing.

The Pouncer will be the world's first edible drone. Designed by engineer Nigel Gifford, it can be flown directly into humanitarian disaster areas to deliver itself as emergency food rations. The wings will be made from an as-yet-undetermined foodstuff, and various compartments throughout the drone will be filled with different edibles depending on where the Pouncer is headed. The balance of the drone will be made of wood, to be used for cooking purposes. BI


Alphabet and Chipotle have teamed up to deliver burritos via drone to hungry Virginia Tech students. The drones will source food-delivery missions around the school from a central Chipotle delivery truck located on campus. One of the project's main hurdles is finding a method to keep the food hot while en route, which is not as simple as it sounds considering FAA regulations and the fact that nobody wants a piping-hot burrito accidentally dropped on them while they're hurrying to finals. – VERGE

A drone cameraman from New Zealand captured stunning footage of a kayaker swimming with a curious killer whale near Auckland. The orca seemed determined to play and interact, and even followed the man once he got back in his kayak and paddled off. (Despite their name and fearsome look, there has never been a documented case of an orca harming a human in the wild, and in fact the emotionally intelligent mammals seem to have an insatiable curiosity about us that scientists say isn't always in their best interest.) – MSN

San Antonio's Steele High School football team is using a small drone to film team practice. Two student managers are tasked with flying the drone, which allows the coaches to see plays from multiple angles. The University Interscholastic League (UIL) and the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) have already decreed that drones, while ok for filming practice, cannot be used during a game or scrimmage. – ABC 

Parrot unveiled its new S.L.A.M. Dunk Developer Kit this past week. The kit can give any drone "eyes" via software derived from the Simultaneous Localization and Mapping algorithm (that's where the S.L.A.M. comes from). Using the software, drones can both map their environment in 3D and determine their current placement on that map. – VERGE

China's Zerotech has announced plans to sell Dobby, their diminutive aerial "selfie" drone, in the U.S. The tiny $400 quadcopter has foldable propellers, which allow it to be broken down to a size that will fit a user's pocket. The drone, apparently named after Harry Potter's loyal house elf, is designed for novice aerial photographers, and can be controlled by a remote Android or iOs device.DIGITAL TRENDS


And just like that, dronesurfing is born. Freefly Systems' Alta 8 drone is strong enough to tow a surfer across a low-friction lake. The Alta 8 is designed for carrying heavy video equipment, not human cargo. But its just powerful enough that when a surfer takes a running start at the water, the drone can do the rest, and a new sport is invented. (No waves are needed.) – GIZMODO


DJI and Epson are partnering on a project to allow linkage between Epson's AR glasses and DJI's popular Phantom drone. The plan will allow wearers of Epson's Moverio BT-300 AR glasses to enjoy a first person view of whatever their UAV is "seeing" on its flight. The link-up will also allow pilots to keep a direct line of sight with the drone, and prevent smash-ups. ENGADGET



At the drones sub-reddit, user suddenmovez (as in "don't make any"?) asks, "Looking for a first drone... suggestions?" Sens420 says, "If you've never flown before, get yourself a Hubsan X4 107L." JimJardashian quickly responds, "This isn't the 1950's anymore. Women can fly drones without needing a Hubsan." Galaxy1004 offers, "I've tested all of them and I'd recommend the Syma X8C and the Hubsan X4 as one of the best starter drones out there." And member n8sobes1216 adds, "The Hobby is fun! If you want a smaller one to get started on, I'd recommend the Quadrone Procam, it's about $70. For around $200 you can get a pretty decent drone that records in 1080p. But if you've got the cash I'll always recommend the DJI phantom 3 line!"

And, just for fun, member officialwitchraid shares a video of a drone dropping a bouncy ball from 200 feet. 

ChrisM0678 says, tersely, "This idiot it going to be fined by the FAA." JustSmeRandomA--hole adds, "What is the point of this... So dumb..." And yspud, getting into the spirit of the venture, writes, "Mind. Blown. Wow! Nice job guys. Keep it up. Maybe start a "dropping stuff from drones" channel."

Readers: Does this strike you as a harmless bit of fun, or potentially dangerous? Would you watch a ‘dropping stuff from drones’ channel? Hit REPLY and let us know whether you think this is just harmless fun or something more troubling.  

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