It messes up hair, it blows stuff in eyes, and most famously and rudely of all, one time it made a bridge in Washington twist and undulate until it exploded. Alright, maybe that was the fault of the engineers, not the wind. But still, strong gusts have the potential to threaten many technologies, including a new one: drones. If you've ever taken a quadcopter out on a windy day, you know the struggle. Now consider that in the near future, our cities will be swarming with delivery drones--and if we don't want them plummeting out of the skies, they'll have to learn to survive the elements.
Hollywood movies such as'Jurassic World' and'The Wolf of Wall Street' have used aerial track shots provided by drone helicopters with cameras. However, those shots require careful planning to avoid collisions, and separate operators for the drones and cameras. But MIT researchers have developed a camera-equipped, autonomous drone that can maintain a shot's framing - which figures or faces appear where - as people move, all while avoiding collisions. The drone allows, for example, a movie director to specify a shot's framing, and then while flying, it generates control signals for a camera-equipped autonomous drone, which preserve that framing as the actors move The new drone system will be presented at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation later this month. With the new drone system, users can specify how much of the screen a face or figure should occupy, what part of the screen it should occupy and what the camera's orientation towards the subject should be - straight on, profile, over the shoulder or other orientations.
Debuting at Maker Faire 2016, Nolan Moore tore down the Power Glove, then reassembled it with a Wi-Fi transmitter, flex sensors and a wealth of additional components to transform it from so-so retro peripheral into a powerful controller that can alter the course of a drone with simple hand movements. For instance, making a fist gets the drone to roll, which a flat hand makes the drone hover in place. Moore's work is impressive, and you can see it in action in the video below. But that's not all he plans on doing with the glove. In the future he'll be replacing the Wi-Fi module with Bluetooth, an RC or IR transmitter or other custom RD or USB HID dongle.
San Leandro-based Airspace Systems is making a business out of solving the toughest problems facing the emerging drone industry. The company designed a drone of its own, jam-packed with sensors and machine intelligence, to autonomously intercept threatening drones at high speeds and carry them away from large crowds. If you think this sounds difficult, you would be right. The company employs myriad technologies for its unmanned flying dogfighters that include computer vision, physics and some pretty serious engineering grit. To not only detect enemy drones, but predict where they will be in the future, CTO Guy Bar-Nahum, and a team of machine learning and computer vision experts, devised a creative method of training their machine learning frameworks using simulated test-flights.