NASA's Multi-Utility Technology Testbed (MUTT) looks like a kid's cartoon drawing of an airplane crossed with a stingray, and it comes with the appropriately pet-esque moniker “Buckeye.” The remotely operated flying wing drone will test how wobbly parts work on aircraft. Last Thursday, it flew for the first time at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center, in Edwards, California.
Drones offer a lot of potential for farmers, from shining lights on crops at night to better tracking just how well crops are growing. At an asparagus farm in the Netherlands, some farmers decided to use the drones for a more novel purpose: carrying the crop itself straight to the restaurant. It was supposed to be a cheery gimmick, a unique way to start off the harvesting season. And then the drone caught fire. Watch it burn!
Drones are not really known for their amphibiosity. Most quadcopters handle water so poorly that their pilots will dive into canals to save them. Waterproof drones are novel enough that floating without failing is enough to be a selling point. Made by Search Systems, the Mariner 600 is designed with the careful amphibious ability of a swampland bird--able to fly in the sky and poke around under water.
In terms of hardware, function, and ability, a simple enough commercial drone is often little more than a cell phone with wings (or rotors, as the case may be). Small drones especially have more in common with smartphones than their more iconic, larger military brethren. At their heart, they both have a small computer that connects to other devices, can load software, have a few sensors, take advantage of modern, powerful batteries, and often come with cameras. In many ways, the computer inside a small drone might as well be a smartphone.
In Alex Garland's screenplay for 28 Days Later, he envisioned a future in which a manmade blood-borne virus turned most of the human population into crazed zombies. And with his screenplay for Sunshine, he detailed the plight of a small astronaut crew, traveling to our dying sun with the aim of nuking it back to life.
Intel may power your PCs, your smartphones, and your tablets, but it also wants to power your horde of spider robots. On stage at the company's Intel Developer Forum in Shenzhen China, CEO Brian Krzanich demonstrated the company's Curie module for wearable solutions, and showed how it allowed him to control, via gesture, a quartet of multi-limbed artificial arachnoids.