The Dronut X1: A Donut Inspired Drone

I was just thinking the other day somebody should combine a donut and a drone, and apparently Boston-based Cleo Robotics was already on the case, developing the $9,800 Dronut X1 – the world’s first bi-rotor ducted drone that can operate in much tighter spaces than traditional drones. Now I can see where this is headed, but there’s no way I’m letting my doctor fly one of these inside me for a colonoscopy. He already misses my knee half the time just checking my reflexes!

The Dronut X1 was designed with military and police applications in mind, has a 1km range, and weighs only 15-ounces with an onboard 4K camera and streaming capabilities. It navigates around its environment “via 3D LiDAR (light detection and ranging), which utilizes beams of light that hit an object or a surface and reflect back to the laser scanner to create a 3D visualization of its environment.” Me? I navigate around my environment with my hands stretched out like a mummy hoping I don’t stub a toe on the way to the fridge for a midnight snack.

The Dronut’s ducted design means no exposed rotors, and no exposed rotors mean it can’t hit anything with those rotors, making it ideal for flying in environments where you don’t want things shredded by a traditional quadrocopter’s spinning blades. I swear, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve stuck my hand in a ceiling fan putting a shirt on in the morning, I might actually be able to afford a $9,800 Dronut.

[via PetaPixel]

The Navy Invented a Device That Stops People from Speaking

When I was a kid, the best way to get my brothers to stop talking was to repeat what they said right after they said it. Now, the U.S. Navy has taken that simple concept and expanded upon it to disrupt people from speaking at a distance. Their invention, known as the handheld acoustic hailing and disruption (AHAD) system, captures speech using a long-range microphone, then plays it back after a brief delay. Not only is the result annoying to its target, but there is also scientific evidence that playing back one’s speech immediately after speaking can quickly disrupt our ability to speak coherently.

The AHAD system was invented by Christopher A Brown of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, and the Patent abstract below explains how it works:

“The present invention relates to a communication disruption system. In a first audio path, a microphone receives input sound, an amplifier system amplifies the sound, and a sound system transmits a first output sound. In a second audio path, the microphone receives input sound, a delay circuit delays the sound, the amplifier system amplifies the sound, and the sound system transmits a second output sound. A target speaker will hear the first and second output sounds, with the first output sound being a reproduction of their speech heard nearly simultaneously with the original speech, and the second output sound being a reproduction of their speech heard slightly after the original speech. Due to the delayed auditory feedback effect, the target speaker’s concentration will be disrupted, making it difficult for them to continue speaking.”

While the Navy could use such a device to prevent terrorists from communicating or disrupting military activity, I could also see this tech being used for nefarious purposes, like preventing free speech at protests. On the other hand, I’d love a personal version of this that I could use during boring PowerPoint presentations.

[via Popular Mechanics]

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]

AI controlled a US military aircraft for the first time

As much as the US military relies on drones to bolster its aerial arsenal, it has still relied on human operators to guide its aircraft — until now. Air Force Assistant Secretary Dr. Will Roper has revealed to Popular Mechanics that AI controlled a U...

Boeing’s tanker drone completes first flight with refueling pod

Humans might not have much involvement in mid-air refueling before long. Boeing has flown a test version of its MQ-25 tanker drone with a refueling pod attached for the first time, taking it one step closer to topping up military aircraft. The 2.5-ho...