This is why you don’t shoot down a drone

small white quad drone image

This is not the drone that was shot down.We expect that drone is still at the drone hospital.

Shooting down a drone that’s hovering over your property might seem like a good idea, but as a recent court case shows, it’s definitely not.

Presenting the case of Eric Joe and Brett McBay.  A few months ago, Joe took a ride out to his parents rural property to fly his homemade hexacopter drone. After about three and half minutes of flying, the drone hit the dirt, courtesy of a 12-gauge shotgun.

When he went to collect the drone, he encountered his parent’s neighbor, Brett McBay and his son. According to an interview with arstechnica, when asked if he shot the drone, McBay said, “Yeah, did we get it?”

After examining the downed drone, Joe estimated about $700 worth of damage, and asked McBay to ...

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New addictive sky race sport that turns people into virtual drones

Have you ever played a video game and wished you could jump inside the screen? Like actually be the avatar you’re feverishly controlling from the other side. I’ll admit, there were times I wished I was Princess Peach. Partly because Super Mario 64 was awesome and partly because I always wanted to be rescued from a castle by a knight in shining armor (I’m still waiting for that to happen)

Drone racers apparently feel the same way (well, maybe not the castle part). Welcome first person view (FPV) racing.

FPV racing is every drone racers dream come to life. It’s basically a game of virtual reality, or feeling like a superhero for five minutes.

It’s the hot new thing in competitive drone flying, and over the past year or so, more and more pilots have started building their own racers ...

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Shooting down a drone with a machine gun looks like this in video clip

On today’s edition of destroying things with machine guns, we find ourselves in Arizona during the semi-annual Big Sandy Shoot, which is the largest machine-gun shoot in the US. We also find ourselves learning a valuable lesson: It’s really hard to shoot down drones.

First, let’s talk about the Big Sandy Shoot, because it sounds both amazing and terrifying at the same time. It’s a facility just outside the town of Wikieup in northwest Arizona with a .25 mile long firing line and 1200 yard maximum distance. They’ve got 1000 reactive targets, night shoots with pyrotechnics, and a ton of NFA weapons. These people are serious about their shoots with an average of over 3.5 million rounds fired per shoot...

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There are a lot of regulations about how and when you can fly drones, but there is also a bit of grey area when it comes to enforcing them. As an added bonus, there is apparently a total lack of ethics (or common sense) from some owners on the appropriate time to fly your toy.

A video was recently released that shows John Thompson flying his drone over a house fire in upstate New York. The firefighters look to be working on putting out any fires and checking the structure when the drone appears on the scene. So, like any self-respecting firefighter who is trying to save someone’s house and shouldn’t have to worry about a mystery drone in the sky, they tag it with the hose. Twice...

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Drone industry escalting at a fast pace in North Dakota USA

black stealth drone with cam image

The unmanned aircraft industry is growing so quickly in North Dakota that two Fargo companies almost signed their recent merger deal on a napkin, an executive said Wednesday.

Aerobotic Innovations, a software company, and Packet Digital, a hardware engineer, formed Botlink after executives from the companies met at a chamber of commerce dinner about a month ago. Shawn Muehler, 29, CEO of Aerobotic Innovations, said the companies were “very close” to signing a contract before dessert was served.

“Within a week, really, we got everything done,” Muehler said Wednesday at a drone conference held inside a hangar at the Fargo Jet Center.

The new company is building a platform meant to help drones stay up in the air longer while collecting and distributing real-time data through cellu...

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CoCoRo underwater mini-robots school like fish and share knowledge

cocoro underwater drones images

Starting in April 2011, the European Union CoCoRo (Collective Cognitive Robots) research consortium has been developing three varieties of autonomous underwater robots that school together like fish. By doing so, the little bots can share and learn from each others’ “knowledge” of their environment, acting as a collective cognitive system that’s smarter than any one of its individual parts.


The robots communicate with one another via built-in flashing LEDs, using onboard electronics such as computer vision systems, compasses and accelerometers to find their way around aquatic environments.

Utilizing an algorithm inspired by the clustering behavior of bees (not fish!), they can seek out others of their kind and then settle together around one central base location, becoming aware of the...

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Watch This Incredible Tiny Robot Fold Itself and Then Destroy Itself


MIT’s new origami robot looks like a tiny cube of aluminum foil, but don’t let that fool you. It can assemble itself into a set of predetermined shapes, roll right along, and can be easily dissolved. Best of all, it’s completely untethered.

The main feature is a magnet, which is layered with PVC and polystyrene. The transformation happens when that material meets a heating element, and then folds into shape origami-style. Rather than relying on wires, it moves in tandem with an external magnetic field that shapes its path. It’s designed to either roll or walk, depending on what’s needed, and dissolves in a bath of acetone.

Right now, the MIT researchers just have the shape; they haven’t added sensors or any other sort of payload...

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Watch MIT’s Robot Cheetah Leap Over Walls With Ease in this gif & video clip

jumping cougar drone gif image

Last year, MIT took the leash of its robot cheetah and let it prance around the great outdoors. If it wasn’t terrifying and awe-inspiring enough to see the four-legged robo beast race untethered across a lawn and imagine it chasing you down, there’s more; they taught it how to jump over things.

A new video shows MIT’s robotic big cat leaping over obstacles up to 15 inches high without skipping a beat. Like a real cat, the robo cheetah adjusts the length of its stride as it starts to approach an object, and picks the perfect moment to pounce so it can land without losing any speed. It just uses an algorithm instead of instinct. The results are remarkable.

Should you someday find yourself running from a robo-cheetah, you’re going to have to do much better than jumping a guard rail.



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Watch a robotic cockroach launch a robotic bird off of its back

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Thu, 05/28/2015 – 1:55pm

2 robots are better than 1, especially when they work as a team.

Meet VelociRoACH and H2Bird. Together they make the coolest part-walking, part-flying robot duo. The cockroach-bird pairing, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley, combines two forms of locomotion in one platform, taking advantage of the efficiency and endurance of a ground robot with the range and versatility of a flying robot.

The running roach-bot acts as a launch pad for the micro aerial “bird”. H2Bird weighs a little over 13 grams and can go airborne for about 90 seconds but it can’t take on its own—it needs a boost of at least 1.3 meters per second from its counterpart...

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Apocalyptic ‘UFO’ clouds form over Texas after weeks of heavy rain

Giant apocalyptic clouds akin to fluffy flying saucers have formed in the skies of central Texas, much to the astonishment of residents who have jokingly wondered if aliens had finally arrived.

alien spaceships of a weather freak image

“Alien ships hiding in clouds,” wrote one Facebook user.

“Yep those are covers for spaceships!” wrote another.

“Those don’t even look real! They are kinda scary,” posted a third.

Altocumulus standing lenticular clouds, as they are known, are stationary clouds with flat, spherical layers shaped like lenses. Resembling alien spacecraft or a stack of pancakes, they typically form on the downwind side of mountains but can occasionally occur next to buildings or bridges.

Air travelling along the mountain is forced upwards by the obstruction, generating waves in the atmosphere, similar to those in the...

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With no motors inspiration for US military’s new mini-drones

US military scientists have invented a miniature drone that fits in the palm of a hand, ready to be dropped from the sky like a mobile phone with wings.

The “micro air vehicle” is named after the insect that inspired its invention, the Cicada, which spends years underground before appearing in great swarms, reproducing and then dropping to the ground dead.

“The idea was why can’t we make UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) that have the same sort of profile,” Aaron Kahn of the Naval Research Laboratory told AFP.

“We will put so many out there, it will be impossible for the enemy to pick them all up.”

The “Cicada”, short for Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft, was designed to be smaller, cheaper and simpler than any other robotic aircraft — but still able to carry out a missio...

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Stickybot is what you get when you combine a drone and a gecko

gecko-like climbing robot known as Stickybot image

Climber: Stickybot in action. Photo: Standford University

There is a wide array of obstacles facing the drone deliveries proposed by Amazon and Google. If the deliveries do happen, however, researchers from the mechanical engineering lab at Stanford University believe they have made a technological leap in the science of the drone’s landing.

Working with researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, they have figured out how to enable a quadcopter drone to stick a landing – at any angle – much like a flying gecko or a bat. Without any kind of suction or anything sticky, the flying robot can now perch on a slippery surface.

This means that technologically, it would be possible for a pizza-carrying drone to land on a 14th-floor window or for a robot, carrying a medical kit, to perch on a...

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