Interesting Drone concept with 360° cameras looks like a magical floating orb from a sci-fi movie

The reason the drone archetype exists is because it’s a tried and tested format. Four propellers on either corner (or six if you’re lucky) and a relatively aerodynamic design with legs for taking off and landing. Throw in a few cameras and sensors and you’ve got yourself a drone that’s easy to recognize. However, break this archetype and you’ve got yourself something quite unrecognizable – like the Jupiter drone concept by Anton Weaver.

Weaver’s drone has a monolithic orb-esque form that defies both gravity as well as the ‘rules’ of drone design. It uses a large single propeller, and what I imagine is an internal gyroscope to move around in the air, stay upright, and even twist and turn while in mid-air. The drone’s unusual design is further characterized by the presence of fisheye lens cameras that allow it to capture everything it sees, sort of like a levitating GoPro.

Weaver’s design focuses more on shock-value than actual physics or aerodynamics, which is precisely what makes the Jupiter drone concept fun to analyze from a design sense. The drone’s strange shape almost gives it the appearance of an all-seeing eyeball that levitates around everywhere, and according to Weaver’s visualizations, it’s the kind of drone you’d use to film the action around you – thanks to the presence of dual fisheye 4K cameras that can capture in 360°.

It comes with the battery mounted on the top (weighing a commendable 400g) and has sensors at the bottom that detect proximity, allowing it to nail the landing – because without any bumpers or feet, the Jupiter can only take-off and land on your palm. The fact that the outer shell protects the internal propeller so well makes it perfect for this, as well as acting as a general buffer as the drone flies around filming the world around you!

Designer: Anton Weaver

This medicine delivery bot carries your supplies in the last mile using a solar-powered drone

A cute little medical robot with an onboard drone to deliver medical supplies to your doorstep as well as the window of high-rise buildings.

COVID-19 has changed the way we go on about our lives – and that too in a major way. Right from the way we conduct ourselves in public places to getting food deliveries – current times call for a super cautious approach. So it was only time before someone gave medical supplies directly to the patient’s home a good hard thought. That’s the reason the Drobo robot designed by NUONE DESIGN makes so much sense.

Rather than heading to the pharmacy to get the medicines, this autonomous robot brings home the needed supplies in a safe and secure manner. Even more vital for the elderly or patients who cannot visit the pharmacy due to underlying medical conditions. The robot has a large screen to display the instructions about the medical product that’s being hauled for a smooth and informative process.

The USP of this medicine delivery robot is its onboard drone that attaches to the back. When it is time to deliver the medicines, the drone attaches to the delivery compartment courtesy of the rails and flies straight off to the patient’s window for a hassle-free and safe hauling of vital medicines. The drone has solar panels on top to soak up the sun’s power for a flight anytime, anywhere.

This little bundle of joy is not just about delivering medicines, Drobo also recommends patients about their health by performing rapid medical tests like the COVID-19 test or checking blood oxygen levels. The data is then sent back to the physicians for instant prescriptions or other instructions for taking medicines delivered in the box.

The little robot is powered by electric energy and the onboard batteries give it an operational time of six to eight hours. When the battery is low, Drobo automatically stops by at the charging stations to juice up wirelessly for its next delivery task.


This lean mean police drone is our law enforcement’s version of KITT from Knight Rider

This drone made from lightweight yet robust material is the police‘s reliable tool in the skies to ensure the law enforcement agencies can access the situation before the ground units can devise a strategy to bring things under control.

Drones for law enforcement agencies have become an important tool to survey any unsolicited developments in and around the city. Fluctuating crime rates and their implications can take a toll on the region, and police need to take every little step in curbing the menace. New-age commercial drones like the DJI Matrice help control the situation, but now there’s a new idea for a quadcopter specifically designed to solve the police troubles.

We are talking about the KOR Air Police Smart Observation System (a.k.a. Air Police Drone) conceptualized by Design One – created to patrol to control the situation before it escalates. The KOR drone is made out of carbon fiber and titanium material, making it lightweight while providing inherent structural strength. This drone is the law enforcement agencies’ eye from the top of the city, making it a rapid response scouting tool.

The system is loaded with high-end camera sensors since it has to keep an eye on a very expansive area with no scope for missing out on any suspicious activity, even in the dark of the night. Moreover, we can disassemble the quadcopter-like form to fit inside an equally reinforced case when not in use. Finally, the battery design provides maximum fly time – edging above the claimed range of DJI’s commercial drones.

Maneuverability is a critical element of the KOR drone that keeps it out of harm’s way if weapons are fired or objects are thrown at it. As a bonus, the drone has a tough, rugged design, kind of what makes you feel secure in its presence. Finally, the incredible rotor arms resemble the barrel of a rifle, lending it a trustworthy vibe for the arsenal of law enforcement agencies.

Designer: Design One

Lifesaver Drone comes with a built-in inflatable raft that deploys to rescue people at sea

By combining the lifesaver tube with a drone, the LIFE DRONE from Hyunjun Choi can easily rescue people by keeping them afloat as well as transporting them to safety.

Building on what a drone is capable of doing, the LIFE DRONE is an amphibious rescue-device that can travel in air as well as on water. It comes with a unique format that allows it to go from your regular airborne quad-copter drone to a waterborne motor-raft whenever needed. The drone comes with a dynamic body that opens up to orient the propellers in an X formation to take to the skies. The base of the drone comes with an automatic inflating life-raft that deploys near the person who needs help. The drone then closes, going from an X-formation to an I-formation, and the propellers begin working underwater, to push the raft towards safety… along with the person on it.

The LIFE DRONE works quite like a life-raft, except it doesn’t need a human to throw it to the drowning person. Just ping the drone with the location of the person drowning and it takes off on its own. When it approaches the location, the inflatable raft automatically deploys and the drone descends into the water. Once the person climbs onto the raft, the drone then works almost like a motorboat, using the propellers to guide the raft to the nearest location of safety. It does this without requiring a lifeguard to jeopardize their life.

Although conceptual, the LIFE DRONE is an interesting idea that can definitely be built. Amphibious drones definitely exist, and with the LIFE DRONE, it’s just a matter of building out a drone that has enough power to carry itself in the air, and propel forward with the weight of a human on water. My guess is that the propellers and motors would be significantly larger if you had to build this out, and you’d need space for pressurized CO2 containers for the raft to deploy. That dynamic X-to-I format is interesting too (it reminds me of this drone concept), and I’d honestly love to see a robotics/drone company at least experiment with a prototype!

Designer: Hyunjun Choi

This thermal imaging drone could help firefighters quickly locate the source of fire in a building

I’m of the firm belief that robots should be assigned duties that are too difficult or dangerous for humans. Take for instance the Prophet by Marius Kindler, an autonomous drone that’s designed to monitor and assess structures/areas on fire so that blue light departments (firefighters, police & paramedics) can effectively carry out their protective and preventive measures. The drone comes fitted with a FLIR camera that captures a heat-map, helping rescue missions detect sources of fire or even helping them plot the position of humans who need to be rescued.

The tricopter drone’s design can be split into three elements – the propellers, a hockey-puck-shaped FLIR thermography camera at the bottom, and a removable/replaceable battery pack on the top. On-site, the drone can be programmed to run pre-determined routes and will constantly patrol a specific area, analyzing the structural fire to give the rescue team a clear idea of the fire’s source, the building’s layout, and possibly even identify potential safe routes for ingress and evacuation.

“Equipped with FLIR‘s thermal imaging technology it monitors heat exposure and the fire‘s behaviour over time”, says designer Marius Kindler. “Based on the gathered data it can identify anomalies and even predicts how the situation could develop in the near future. The system also makes it possible to link several drones together to a network, enabling all first responders to share their information, responsibilities and their equipment in a collaborative way during emergency incidents.”

The Prophet Drone was the result of a 10-week term project at Umeå Institute of Design in collaboration with FLIR Systems. Although conceptual, it definitely makes a case for how drones can be designed to help protect people and contain major disasters. The technology isn’t too far off, to begin with. Thermography cameras already exist, and autonomous drones are definitely a thing… so it shouldn’t be too farfetched to assume that human-assisting drones could soon be a part of every urban neighbourhood’s firefighting arsenal.

Designer: Marius Kindler

This sleek drone fits in your pocket and transforms uses its magnetic modular design!

The rise of drone photography and videography has opened the door to plenty of technological and design advancements. Likewise, with the rise of social media, drones have seen some major improvements across the board, spanning from obstacle avoidance to camera quality and speed. Adding portability to the list, industrial designer Kendal Toerner conceptualized Xenon Drone, a handheld and modular drone designed for the most rugged of adventures.

Xenon Drone was first designed for the drone videographer looking for a drone that’s as durable as it is portable. Noticing the lack of handheld and high-quality drones on the market, Toerner sought to balance functionality and space. Broken down into three pieces, Xenon Drone is made from recyclable, plant-based thermoplastic and features a magnetic launching pad wedged between two drone modules. To communicate Xenon’s portability and simplicity, Toerner designed the drone to be versatile in its assembly, resulting in three different possible forms for flying and stacking achieved via magnetic connectors.

Getting Xenon Drone out of your hands and into the sky is simple—users need only attach the two drone modules at their center magnetic grooves, connect their propellers, and let it fly. One end of each module contains the chunk of embedded electronic wiring; the other end holds Xenon Drone’s triple-axis gimbal camera and batteries. But, while getting it up in the air is exciting, Toerner didn’t lose sight of the importance of a safe landing. Embedded with ultrasonic sensors, Xenon Drone depends on a magnetic landing wand to guide its safe descent—by raising the magnetic wand, Xenon Drone can land safely no matter where it flies from.

Users can also control Xenon Drone’s route from their smartphones using an elastic joystick controller that can adapt to almost any smartphone. From your smartphone, Xenon Drone’s joystick controller displays the drone’s altitude, distance, and velocity, as well as the haptic joystick and pan controls. In addition, integrated GPS technology and Bluetooth connectivity allow users to locate Xenon Drone wherever it lands.

Designer: Kendall Toerner

Broken down into two parts, each module of the Xenon Drone attaches at its magnetic center.

A launching pad was wedged between the two modules to ensure an effective takeoff.

Embedded magnetic springs pluck out to deploy each drone module.

After the two modules connect, propellers are attached before Xenon can take flight.

Xenon’s magnetic connector.

Users need only attach the two modules and connect their respective propellers.

A magnetic landing wand guides Xenon in a safe descent.

An elastic joystick controller allows users to choose Xenon’s route.

“By modulating an electromagnetic force on your fingertip, the flat surface of the controller feels just like a joystick. The further from the center, the more resistance. This allows for eyes-off flying, mitigating finger-drifting issues,” Toerner notes.

“Using the onboard transceiver, GPS, and Bluetooth, the exact location of the two drone parts is always known even when they separate.”

“A camera with a triple-axis gimbal allows for optical image stabilization and manual panning. Having both a wide-angle and telephoto lens allows for unique options when capturing adventures.”

“A thermoplastic, layer-based circuit board can be decoupled from its components with a hot liquid solvent, allowing for reuse and recycle of almost every part. Xenon is manufactured using renewable energy, plant-based thermoplastic, (recyclable) metal, and can be fully disassembled because it uses fasteners and a removable thermal adhesive.”

Completely absurd patent by Vivo shows a smartphone with its own built-in tiny drone camera

What will they think of next? A smartphone that can 3D print?? (Okay scratch that, that would actually be pretty awesome)

Just last week (Friday to be specific), LetsGoDigital uncovered this rather outrageous patent filed by Chinese phone manufacturer Vivo at the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) showcasing a phone with its own drone camera. Sort of like how Marvel superhero Falcon had his own flying sidekick ‘Redwing’, Vivo’s phone had its own mini-drone that could pop out on command and click photos at you from any vantage point.

Sliding cameras on smartphones aren’t new, although Vivo’s concept takes it a couple of notches ahead. The patent shows a phone with a massive pop-out tray on the front. Within it, sits a tiny drone (sort of like the Air Selfie Drone from AirPix but smaller) with four propellers and a bunch of cameras and sensors. Fire your camera app and the tray instantly pops out and the drone takes off. A front-facing camera on the drone’s body lets you click photos (either of yourself or of landscapes) from a variety of vantage points, going above and beyond what your smartphone camera and your outstretched hand can do. Given how small drones, it isn’t entirely an idea I can actually dismiss… although what would Vivo’s marketing team call it? A Dronephone? A Smartdrone? A Phdrone?!

Practicality aside, the tech isn’t too far-fetched. The drone fits right into the phone’s slightly thick body, and comes with dual portrait-mode cameras on the top (that directly face you when the tray pops out), a main camera on the front (that works as the drone’s eyes), and IR sensors on the left and right that help the drone detect and avoid objects. The presence of cameras on the drone mean Vivo’s smartphone doesn’t need any cameras at all. This means no front-facing camera and a clean notch-less hole-punch-less display, as well as no massive camera bump on the back. The smartphone is a complete monolith of glass, metal, and screen, punctuated by a charging port and a set of buttons. The drone tray sits flush against the phone when closed, and pops up only when you fire up the camera app. (I’m assuming the app has drone controllers built in too)

Now let’s argue practicality from both sides of the argument. There’s a fair amount of evidence to say that this is a terrible idea. Moving components on a smartphone are historically the first to fail – Dust gets stuck in it, components wear out, parts accidentally break. The presence of a drone would mean saying goodbye to water-resistance, and there’s also a high chance your drone can get lost or stolen, leaving you with absolutely no camera (that’s if Vivo implements something exactly like this). Not to mention the fact that it practically means the end of privacy as we know it. (Imagine hundreds and thousands of drones flying around in every public space, or worse, or a drone entering a private space).

That being said, drone photography is truly the final frontier in consumer photography. The smartphone camera is already comparable to a DSLR, so now imagine being able to point that camera from any vantage point. You could take distant selfies without selfie sticks, sunsets from inside your house, and get better photos at concerts. It’s safe to assume that the drone would have a rather small battery (given its size), but one could easily make the argument that the drone could also wirelessly charge while docked inside the phone). As far as safety and privacy go, companies could build safeguards and throttles into the drone, preventing it from flying too far from its smartphone. There’s a lot to discuss and unpack here, although at the end of the day, fair reminder – this is just a patent and it’s likely that we won’t see anything like this for at least a couple of years. It’s fun to dream though…

Designer/Visualizer: Sarang Sheth for LetsGoDigital

This concept was first published on LetsGoDigital. Click here to view the original piece.

Government Developing Confetti Launching Anti-Drone Technology

Turning unwanted drone surveillance into an impromptu surprise party, the US Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is developing a new anti-drone countermeasure that fires confetti-like streamers to entangle a spy-copter’s rotors, bringing it back down to earth like a drone-shaped rock.

The Mobile Force Protection system is “part of a larger initiative where X band radar is used to detect, identify, and track unmanned aerial threats.” If deemed a threat, a reusable drone can be launched from a moving vehicle, where it will intercept the target and launch its payload into the drone’s blades. Of course, this is assuming the enemy doesn’t have anti-ANTI-drones that already intercepted this one.

Obviously, the next logical development in the government’s anti-drone countermeasures is a t-shirt cannon. And, God willing, I’ll be there to catch one, probably eating a hot dog with a mustard stain on my shirt and waving a giant foam finger.

[via IFLscience]

Sony is disrupting the photography industry with its Airpeak S1 drone that can mount ANY Sony Alpha camera

Sony is probably the only company at the moment to be able to boast of having a robust camera as well as a burgeoning aerial-tech business. It’s preceded only by GoPro, which launched the Karma drone back in 2016 and discontinued it in 2018 after a very tepid response. GoPro’s cameras, however, are still some of the most popular payload options to add on existing drones, but that pales in comparison to what Sony is offering. Sony’s first drone, the Airpeak S1, is a large pro-level drone that is designed to carry a gimbal along with a full-size mirrorless Sony Camera. It expands what your existing camera is capable of, and essentially means your professional camera (and its lenses) can now take to the skies, capturing professional-grade image and video content.

Make no mistake, the Airpeak S1 isn’t your average drone. It isn’t meant for FPV racing or for consumer-grade aerial shots like drones from DJI or Parrot. The Airpeak S1 is the kind of drone a high-budget photographer or cinematographer would use for taking film-grade shots. The drone comes built entirely by the folks at Sony, engineered to work seamlessly with a 3-axis gimbal and a host of Sony’s cameras, including the A1, A911, A7s111, A7RIV, and FX3 cameras, along with E-Mount lenses between 14mm and 85mm.

The Airpeak S1 is currently the smallest drone ever made to be able to carry a full-size camera. Measuring 644mm in total span, the drone’s most compelling features are its ability to go from 0-50mph in 3.5 seconds, and its stability and wind resistance, making it perfect for aerial shots no matter the weather… although those figures change with different cameras and lenses. According to Sony, the Airpeak can stay stable in winds of up to 44.7 miles per hour, a feat made possible by the 5 additional stereo cameras located on the drone that help it constantly optimize its performance, along with an infrared range-finder that actively helps it avoid obstacles.

For now, the Airpeak S1 can either be controlled via its remote, or the Airpeak Flight app, which will be available later this year only for iOS devices. Sony has worked with drone gimbal experts at Gremsby to develop a bespoke 3-axis stabilizer for the Airpeak S1, although this will be available as an additional purchase. The drone and gimbal can both be controlled singularly by the remote that can hook up to an iPad for viewfinding purposes. Somewhere down the line, Sony will allow the drone and the gimbal to be operated independently (allowing one person to take on piloting activities while the other person oversees cinematography). While launching the drone, Sony also announced that it was working on a cloud-based app called Airpeak Base, that would let users plot automated flight routes and manage a fleet of Airpeak drones.

The Airpeak S1 currently exists as an incredibly niche product that’s made for professional use. Just the drone itself comes with a whopping $9,000 price tag (the gimbal and camera cost extra), which definitely puts it in a class of its own, but then again, the drone lets you mount 8K cameras on it along with a wide range of lenses. While this isn’t something that would probably excite consumers, it opens up an entirely new class of drones, which could one day even work with smartphones (imagine an Apple-branded drone that works with your iPhone 12 Pro).

Sony’s $9,000 drone will be made available at the end of this year – For that price tag, you’ll get the drone along with 2 batteries, a charger, and a remote. The Airpeak S1 still awaits approval from the FAA, although Sony’s even made it clear that the production and manufacturing of all the drone’s hardware is happening in Japan, in light of US legislation and controversies around all drones being manufactured in China.

Designer: Sony

The Nike AirBuddy drone gives you an airborne AI-powered trainer that tracks your workout

Nike AirBuddy Drone

Designed as a response to several restrictions imposed during the lockdown, the NIKE AIRBUDDY is a conceptual drone that ‘spots’ you while you exercise. It can be carried around via a shoulder-strap located on the base of the drone, and can be deployed anywhere. Once in the air, the drone connects with your Nike Fitness App and tracks your performance, giving you a comprehensive breakdown of your routine at the end.

Nike AirBuddy Drone

The drone embodies a clean, sophisticated design language, with 4 rotors branching out of a capsule-shaped body. The drone’s body is outfitted with a single camera that acts as a watchful eye, observing every movement you make like a trainer would. This would hint at the fact that the drone doesn’t come with any obstacle avoidance, so it’s best used in open fields (as opposed to densely forested parks or the woods). The AirBuddy does come with a light-strip located right in front of its camera, which means for the most part it can see what’s in front of it, avoiding obstacles as it flies forwards. Just in case the drone suffers wear and tear, the AirBuddy’s modular design solves this problem as the propellers are detachable and can be easily replaced with newer parts if they ever do get damaged.

Nike AirBuddy Drone

The AirBuddy is a conceptual drone designed by South Korea-based designer Cheolhee Lee. It features a customizable design that allows users to choose their own color-ways to match their workout-garments and gear, and although conceptual, sounds like quite a flex from a company that has always been at the forefront of innovation, having also worked on laceless shoes in the past, which were recently upgraded with the world’s first-ever hands-free shoes!

Designer: Cheolhee Lee

Nike AirBuddy Drone

Nike AirBuddy Drone

Nike AirBuddy Drone

Nike AirBuddy Drone

Nike AirBuddy Drone

Nike AirBuddy Drone

Nike AirBuddy Drone

Nike AirBuddy Drone