Owleez is the mutant offspring of a cuddly pet and a helicopter

Ask any parent of a school-aged child and they'll probably tell you nurturing toys are big now. Those are the ones where petting and feeding it are not optional activities, thanks to a series of sensors embedded under the plaything's surface. It's li...

The SiteWasp drone basically replaces the Supervisor at a construction site

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The power of flight, and the power of observation. These two qualities make drones incredibly good for reconnaissance, especially in places where it’s difficult to put a human, or a permanent closed-circuit camera.

Designed for site-recon for buildings under construction, the SiteWasp was built to be your all-in-one monitoring drone. “The objective of the SiteWasp drone is to remotely provide stakeholders with construction updates, thus unifying the planning process and the building process. This 3D drone system scans, measures, analyses, and documents with high-resolution images the current state and process of construction. It uses the digital BIM (Building Information Model) so that all remote stakeholders can react directly to crucial errors and differences, which leads to a more synchronized and efficient workflow.”

Made to do a better job than a construction supervisor, and in less time, the SiteWasp can complete an entire recon in a matter of hours, whereas it would take a human days to complete an exhaustive check of the building and its progress. Built to do the job well, this quad-copter comes with a circular body and a camera that can rotate as much as 200° on this circular axis, which enables direct scans of both horizontal and vertical surfaces—all done without changing its position. The SiteWasp can also cover areas that are especially difficult for manual measuring like elevator tunnels.

The SiteWasp’s design is especially appropriate for the kind of activity it’s required to do. It makes the use of high-contrast colors so that it’s visible to the people around it, and even employs a robust mesh around its rotors to prevent any falling debris from damaging the drone while it’s in flight.

The SiteWasp received an Honorable Mention at the Red Dot Design Concept Award for the year 2018.

Designer: Sebastian Gier

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FAA will require drones to display registration numbers externally

Drone owners will soon need to display their device's registration numbers on the outside of the craft, the Federal Aviation Administration has declared. The agency, which last month proposed looser restrictions on drone night flights, posted the rul...

Sonar drone discovers long-lost WWII aircraft carrier USS Hornet

The late Paul Allen's research vessel, the Petrel, has found another historic warship at the bottom of the ocean. In the wake of an initial discovery in late January, the expedition crew has confirmed that it found the USS Hornet, an aircraft carrie...

This Drone Would Use Sonic Waves to Put Out Fires

It looks like a UFO, but the conceptual ‘Feuxzy‘ drone has very earthly origins. It was created as a solution to keep forest fires at bay in rural areas and prevent them from getting out of control. It has a very unique way of extinguishing fires.

This concept drone was designed by Adolfo Esquivel and Martin Rico of Imaginactive. The way it would work is simple. The drone would monitor woods, forests and parks for fires, using thermal imaging and other sensors. If it locates a fire, it would use low-frequency bass sounds to disrupt the air around the fire. This would theoretically remove the oxygen from the area to help put out the flames quickly without human intervention or even water.

It would be powered by lithium-ion batteries or a fuel cell that can continue to operate even in extreme temperatures. It could help to keep human firefighters out of danger, which is a great reason to have this in our forests all by itself and it could help to prevent disastrous fires like the recent ones in Paradise, California. So it could save save civilian lives and property as well.

The Feuxzy is a concept for now but could be real one day soon.

[via Trend Hunter]

Intel RealSense tracking camera helps robots navigate without GPS

Intel is back with another RealSense camera, but this one has a slight twist: it's meant to give machines a sense of place. The lengthily-titled RealSense Tracking Camera T265 uses inside-out tracking (that is, it doesn't need outside sensors) to he...

The Feuxzy drone fights forest fires with sonic waves

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Feuxzy makes a case for the use of drones in swift-action danger-scenarios where human life is much too precious. Designed to monitor park, woods, and forests, the Feuxzy is shaped like a saucer and comes built with chemical sensors, thermal sensors, thermal cameras and AI that help it detect forest fires. Also built into the Feuxzy is a sonic fire extinguisher that shoot beams of low-frequency bass sounds between 30 and 60 Hz to disrupt the air around the fire, sending pressure through the air molecules to remove the oxygen from it and causing the fire to die down. Built with as many as five of these sonic extinguishers, Feuxzy can travel right into the heart of forest fires, fighting the flames from all sides, rather than working just at the periphery, the way a human firefighter would do.

Feuxzy measures 20 inches in diameter and 12 inches thick. Its shell is made out of composites and its energy source comes from ion lithium batteries (or a fuel cell) that power an electric turbofan located at its center. It isn’t clear how these batteries will fare in high-temperature scenarios, but I’m sure there’s always a design or engineering fix that can help these conceptual drones become a fire-fighting reality. Feuxzy’s roles aren’t, however, limited to just fire-fighting. They can patrol these large expanses of land, monitoring the flora and fauna as well as working to track down missing people.

Designers: Martin Rico & Adolfo Esquivel (Imaginactive)

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This Bird-like Drone Has Wings and Legs, and Jumps to Take off

Generally speaking, drones have either vertical takeoff capabilities or they need a runway. However, a South African startup has a better way. Their solution is to add some legs to their drone. The Passerine Sparrow Jumper has fixed wings and legs and feet for takeoff and landing. It also uses over-wing engines for thrust.

Those over-wing engines create what’s called a blown wing, where the engine exhaust passes over the top of the wing and over a portion of the wing flaps. The forced high-speed air passing over the wings and flaps generates a lot of lift; two or three times the lift of a conventional wing. This also means it can take off and land over a much shorter distance than conventional planes, and can fly much more slowly before it stalls.

However, blown wings in this scale may not be able to create the lift necessary for takeoff. That’s where the legs come in. They are spring-loaded and engineered to create enough energy required for takeoff. They spring the drone up and forward then retract when in the air. During landings, they act as shock absorbers, so no runway is required at all.

The aircraft is still in the very early prototyping stages, so it’s not ready to perform all of its tricks quite yet. However, you can see how the liftoff might work in the first video below, while the second provides an animation of of the complete take off and landing sequence:

[via IEEE via Mike Shouts]