Sending packages by airplane is nothing new, but the task could soon be taken over by drones. DHL recently completed of a three-month-long test of its automated drone delivery system, the Parcelcopter. It works with a combination helipad and mailbox dubbed Skyport, which can automatically load and unload the drone's payload when it lands and store it in one of the station's lockers. Testing took place between January and March of 2016 in Bavaria, Germany. The idea was to see if the drone could be used to deliver packages to areas that are remote and where standard delivery takes a long time.
When Barbara Hickey checked her home security video, she noticed her postman delivering her mail with a little jig on the side. It was around noon on April 12. Josefina Gomez Pando, 83, dropped a check for $112 into a blue mailbox on a corner on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Then she proceeded to her doctor's appointment. Her check would never make it to the mailman. That's because someone else, most likely using a sticky rat trap attached to the end of a string, fished her check right back out of that mailbox.
A U.S. Postal Service mail carrier was caught on surveillance video seemingly urinating on a homeowner's front porch as he delivered their mail. The footage showed the mailman apparently relieving himself as he walked down a sidewalk and up several stairs onto the porch. The employee appeared to stop urinating once he arrived at the mailbox attached to the home, and looked around the area. He then pulled the homeowner's mail from his bag, and dropped it in the box. Once the mail was delivered, the employee walked away from the home and toward the street, narrowly avoiding walking in his own urine.
The creator of Smart Alert for Mail obviously had a problem that no one else had been able to solve: Knowing when their mail had arrived. Enter Smart Alert for Mail--aka SAM--a gadget with a singular purpose, one which you've already figured out after reading this far. SAM comes in two pieces, a transmitter that fits in your mailbox and a receiver that sits inside your house. The transmitter attaches via sticky tape and Velcro to the inside of your mailbox (a small antenna wire snakes out through the gap in the door), while the receiver goes anywhere inside your house that's in range of a power outlet (and as close to the transmitter as possible). The transmitter communicates via the unlicensed 433.92MHz frequency band, which gives it 300 feet of range in unobstructed, open air.
In flight, the wings pivot 90 degrees, and the drone flies like a plane. This first draft of history is messy. We accept now that the Wright Brothers were the first to achieve powered, human flight, and that they did so on December 17th, 1903. They were hardly the first to experiment with flight, though, and at the time the brother's work was viewed skeptically by many rivals. In the new age of drone flight, video and the internet make success easier to prove, but it's the exact definition of success that's hard to pin down.