A speaker might be more effective than a bullet

5 Aug , 2015  


Researchers in Korea have developed a method to throw off the gyroscopes that keep a multirotor in the air using sound waves. From ComputerWorld:

Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejon, South Korea, analyzed the effects of resonance on a crucial component of a drone, its gyroscope. Their paper will be presented next week at the 24th USENIX Security Symposium in Washington, D.C.

A gyroscope keeps a drone balanced, providing information on its tilt, orientation and rotation, allowing for micro-adjustments that keep it aloft. Hobbyist and some commercial drones use inexpensive gyroscopes that are designed as integrated circuit packages.

The team has been performing small scale experiments and have the able to disrupt the flight of a quadcopter using a speaker at a distance of 40 meters, or about 130.

Based on this research and experimentation, in the future, we might be able to keep pesky “drones” out of sensitive, private or secure areas using soundwaves. Head on over to ComputerWorld Australia for the full article.

Sounds can knock drones out of the sky – Computerworld.


The State of UAVs – Drone Report from RedShark News

4 Jun , 2015  


Online publication RedShark News, that has a comprehensive report on the state of UAVs, in the framework of aerial photography and videography. The article discusses the latest offering from 3DR, DJI, ICAM and FreeFly.

I have been to several conferences in just the last four months, seeing a new drone at every one of them. This weekend, I attended the Drones, Data X Conference in Santa Cruz, California. It was held directly after the SUAS News Conference in San Francisco and included many of the same companies, products and services.

Check out the full article, on the link below.

RedShark News – Drone Report: Red-hot consumer UAVs for filmmakers.


Detecting multirotors using their sound-print

20 May , 2015  


Alsok, a Japanese company, also known as Sohgo Security Services, is developing a service that can detect incoming multirotors in the sky using their sound signature. This comes after a multirotor landed on Japan’s prime minister’s roof in April.

For this service, Alsok will use U.S.-made audio sensors that can capture sounds within a radius of 150 meters. For a building the size of the prime minister’s office, three of the sensors will be able to cover the entire area.

When the audio sensors pick up sounds, the system checks a database of audio fingerprints to determine if a drone has approached and to identify the type of drone. For added precision, image sensors can capture the shape of the drone. A warning is then sent to security personnel.

Their services is set to cost a couple of thousand dollars a month, but that is cheaper than using human eyes and ears to detect incoming “drones”. The question is, once it is detected, how will security handle these “threats”?

Securing the skies: Japan's Alsok to warn when drones invade – Nikkei Asian Review.


Hydrogen full-cell powered quad flies for up to 4 hours

20 May , 2015  


Horizon Unmanned Systems, a company based in Singapore, just announced a new type of quadcopter that runs on hydrogen instead of regular old lipos (lithium polymer batteries). The Hycopter uses a fuel cell to convert hydrogen into electricity and they claim that it can fly for up to 4 hours on a single charge of hydrogen gas. The tanks a built-into the frame and the fuel cell can be shifted to accomodate up to 1 kg of cargo, with a reduced flight time of 150 minutes.

Unlike any other rotorcraft, HYCOPTER makes use of its frame structure to store energy in the form of hydrogen instead of air, eliminating energy storage weight. With less lift power required, HYCOPTER’s ultra-light fuel cell turns the hydrogen in its frame into electricity to power its rotors.

This technology sounds great but I would like to see an actual demos and not just a WIX-powered website and a PDF. Check out their website for the full details.



DJI Valued at $10 billion after raising $75 million in funding

6 May , 2015  


The world’s most popular “drone” manufacturer, DJI, has raised $75 in venture funding from Accel Partners, which values the company at a cool $10 billion. They are also projected to generate $1 billion in revenue this year, which is about twice what they made last year. DJI will use this funding to expand their vision: at the moment they are known for aerial photography and videography, but they want to get into other areas:

DJI had been a vertical company making drones for aerial photography and video, but the company hopes to use this funding to change that. “We aspire for DJI to offer a platform for unbounded creativity and exploration across areas as diverse as filmmaking, agriculture, conservation, search and rescue, energy infrastructure, mapping, and more,” said Wang.

DJI just started shipping their latest platform, the Phantom 3 and the Inspire seems to be getting more popular every day. This makes me excited about the future of UAVs: DJI is a huge player and this will only push innovation and the potential for UAV platforms.

Drone maker DJI nabs $75 million in funding at a $10 billion valuation | The Verge.


Drones For Good Competition in Dubai

16 Apr , 2015   Video

Introducing the Drones for Good Award, a competion held Dubai, United Arab Emirates. According to their site:

The International competition is dedicated to rewarding the most promising prototypes of future services that may benefit humanity at large.

Teams were to apply in May 2014 and the final award ceremony was held in January 2015. The finalists were flown in for all over the world, all expenses paid, and in the final ceremony, the winning team of each category, National, Internation and Government, wins $1 million (US).

Check out their website for all the details, including winning teams, sponsorships and objectives at


Going to Cuba? Leave your Multirotor at home

15 Apr , 2015   Video

If you are planning on traveling to Cuba, now that the US-Cuban relations are thawing, and you are thinking about packing your favorite UAV to get some amazing aerial footage, do yourself a favor and leave it at home. From The Verge:

Dane Christensen was entering Cuba in February when a customs official pulled him aside: he was carrying a DJI Phantom, which the officials viewed as a kind of contraband. The drone was seized at the border, and stored at customs until Christensen left the country. “It was my full intention to use my drone to get some amazing shots of the beaches and Cubanos surfing,” Christensen says. Unfortunately, without the drone, all Christensen’s footage had to be handheld.

Hot tip: Do not bring your drone to Cuba | The Verge.


Boston Marathon: a no-drone zone

14 Apr , 2015  


For those of you that were hoping to get some cool aerial shots at the 2015 Boston Marathon, Boston Police has declared that it will be a no-drone zone, so you might as well unpack your gear and plan otherwise:

The entire route of the Boston Marathon will be a ‘No Drone Zone.’ The public is being advised NOT to operate any type of drone (unmanned aerial vehicle), including remotely controlled model aircraft, over or near the course, or anywhere within sight of runners or spectators.

For the full press release from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, click here.

[Via Mashable]


Ways Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Can Be Used Positively

3 Apr , 2015  


Unmanned aerial vehicles have been cast in a bad light recently, which is completely unfounded. Of course, there are incidents that have caused “drones” to be viewed negatively. But with the vast uses for unmanned aerial vehicles, it is baseless. Modified UAVs could revolutionize science, farming, and delivery systems. In the scheme of things, unmanned aerial vehicles are very cheap compared to some of the techniques that are being employed by these systems. More…


The FAA is NOT taking down YouTube videos about Drones flying

12 Mar , 2015   Video

Jayson Hanes, a UAV enthusiast, is in the middle of an FAA-induced controversy. He received a letter [pdf link] from the FAA telling him that they received a complaint about his commercial use of UAVs and it appers to be valid because he has monetization on his YouTube channel. He does’t do commercial aerial photography, in other words, he has never been hired nor is he for hire for your next wedding. He simply flies his DJI Phantom Vision around, records the sights and posts the video on YouTube. Ah, he is also enrolled in YouTube’s monetization program, so ads show up either before you watch his videos or a small banner is shown. More…