Loon Copter drone flies as well as floats and dives underwater in this Video

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The Loon Copter tips forward to “fly” underwater (Credit: Oakland University).

Along with the usual flying drones, there are also models that can move along the surface of the water like boats, that can explore underwater like submarines, or that can even both fly and float. As is the case with its feathered namesake, however, Oakland University’s Loon Copter can fly, land on the water to see what’s under the surface, and then dive down to check out what it sees.

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The Loon flies in the same fashion as any other quadcopter, and initially floats when it comes to rest on the water. It can then simply sit in one spot, or it can use its props to push itself along the surface. The real fun starts when it pumps water into its buoyancy chamber, though, causing it to sink.

Instead of submerg...

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Police in Holland train eagles to snatch unwanted drones out of the sky


GIF: Dutch police demonstrate the eagle in action (Credit: YouTube/Politie)

Dutch police are training eagles to snatch rogue drones from the sky during emergencies, in the latest effort to combat unsafe drone use.

In a partnership with “raptor training company” Guard From Above, the Dutch National Police began the trial as an alternative to using nets to bring unwanted drones down.

“There are situations where drones cannot fly … almost always related to safety,” said Mark Wiebes, innovation manager of the National Unit of the police.

“There is a case where an air ambulance would land but could not because someone out there flew a drone.

“You can also imagine that people want to take beautiful pictures of an event an...

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Killer robots closer to reality than we think,United Nations is told

Australia a target for drones?

Is the Australian Defence Force the next big customer for unmanned aerial vehicles? Vision General Atomics’ promotional video.

Australia has warned the world that artificially intelligent killer robots “may be closer than many of us had imagined” and nations need to work harder to tackle the future threat they may pose.

At a United Nations meeting on “lethal autonomous weapons systems” in Geneva, Switzerland, the Australian delegation on Monday night called on the world to come up with agreed rules about how to handle the rapid pace in technology in military artificial intelligence.

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The Terminator movies imagined a...

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Imaging drones to spot signs of explosive chemicals leaking from landmines in this video

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University of Bristol researcher Dr Tom Scott with a landmine-hunting drone.

Care estimates there are some 110 million landmines buried around the world, with more than 70 people killed or injured each day by these deadly devices. Locating and disabling landmines is not only a meticulous and time-intensive task, but an incredibly dangerous one as well. Working to help keep humans out of harm’s way, British scientists are developing drones with advanced imaging technology to more effectively map and speed up the clearing of affected areas.

Flying a drone over a football stadium would normally incite all kinds of outrage from protective managers determined to safeguard their secret tactics...

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Henry Sapiecha

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Hedging your bets against sex robots? AI ‘could result in half of world being unemployed’

Scientist Moshe Vardi informs colleagues that change could come within a matter of just 30 years, with few professions immune to effect of advanced artificial intelligence

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Artificial intelligence could put more than half the planet’s population out of a job, a computer scientist says. Photograph: Science Picture Co./Corbis

Machines could put more than half the world’s population out of a job in the next 30 years, according to a computer scientist who said on Saturday that artificial intelligence’s threat to the economy should not be understated.

Expert Moshe Vardi told the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS): “We a...

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This Homemade Robot Can Solve A Rubik’s Cube In One Second

So a LEGO robot might be able to monster a Rubik’s cube in a little over three seconds, but put together a dedicated machine from a more flexible part list and well, the popular multi-coloured puzzle gets dominated. Try 1.019 seconds on for size.

A pair of guys on YouTube by the names of Jay Flatland and Paul Rose built there own mechanical solver using an array of webcams, 3D printed frames and stepper motors. There’s nothing inherently complex about the setup — in fact, it looks like more work went into the software:

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As you can see in the image, the program takes the image input from the cameras and converts it into a “unrolled” version for human consumption, as well as something the solver can understand...

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Henry Sapiecha

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A Firefighter Drone That Flies And Crawls Up Walls

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The FAROS can endure the heat of over 1,000° Celsius from butane gas and ethanol aerosol flames for over one minute. Credit KAIST

The 1974 American disaster film Towering Inferno depicted well the earnest struggles of firefighters engaged in ending a fire at a 138-story skyscraper. To this day, fires at high-rise buildings are considered one of the most dangerous disasters.

Skyscraper fires are particularly difficult to contain because of their ability to spread rapidly in high-occupant density spaces and the challenge of fighting fires in the buildings’ complex vertical structure. Accessibility to skyscrapers at the time of the fire is limited, and it is hard to assess the initial situation.

A research team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST...

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Killer robots. Invisible drones: not science fiction any more. Welcome to war.

Giving your soldiers superior technology has always been a significant factor in winning wars, but now it’s the technology itself threatening to do the killing.

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Time is running out for the UN to enforce a ban on invisible weapons and killer robots.

Photo: michael mucci

Autonomous killer robots that can hunt down humans and make their own decisions about who to exterminate are not science fiction or a problem for the future. They are a threat now.

Any doubt about that can be removed by reading US Department of Defence budgets covering the past 12 years and by talking to scientists at the forefront of military-funded research. Having done so, the following scenario becomes frighteningly real.

I can assure you a lot more innocent civilians will be killed by drones if we take humans out of...

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Microbots Individually Controlled Using ‘Mini Force Fields’

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This image shows how two microbots can be independently controlled when operating within a group, an advance aimed at using the tiny machines for applications such as advanced manufacturing and biomedical research.

Researchers are using a technology likened to “mini force fields” to independently control individual microrobots operating within groups, an advance aimed at using the tiny machines in areas including manufacturing and medicine.

Until now it was only possible to control groups of microbots to move generally in unison, said David Cappelleri, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University.

“The reason we want independent movement of each robot is so they can do cooperative manipulation tasks,” he said. “Think of ants...

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Disney Research creates drone car that can climb walls

Disney’s new ‘spider-drone’ can climb up walls

VertiGo, a Disney-developed robot that uses propellers to climb up walls, is the latest in gravity-defying robot technology.

If you’ve ever piloted a remote-controlled car, you’re familiar with the question we all ask ourselves after a couple of minutes of zooming around over horizontal surfaces: “Why can’t this thing climb straight up a vertical wall and scoot around like a fly or a gecko or some sort of tree frog?”

Well be disappointed by devices that obey the laws of physics no longer, because Disney Research Zurich and Swiss university ETH have concocted VertiGo, a prototype wall-gripping robot that appears to do just that.

In the age of consumer quadcopters, it’s perhaps not all that surprising to see a small device that ca...

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