Drones, the monosyllabic catch-all for remote controlled unmanned aircraft, have become a striking symbol of modernity in the past decade. First as military scouts and assassins, then as delivery gimmicks and backyard toys, the simple category of craft captured the imagination of everyone clever enough to put the words “Game of Drones” together. But the history of drones goes back more than a century. This video, created by Mashable, captures a lot of that history in just nine minutes:
Watching the University of Oslo’s three-limbed robot squirm across the floor like a dismembered starfish brings to mind shudder-inducing flashbacks of Stargate SG-1. More particularly, visions of SG-1’s creepy-crawly nemesis, the Replicators, spider-like robots capable of well...replicating themselves...but also able to learn from their surroundings, adapt and generally tear apart entire worlds (or spaceships).
Small, cheap drones make appealing cameramen for a variety of tasks -- from a research apparatus to a tourist's plaything. Light, unmanned aircraft, especially those piloted by amateurs, pose a new danger to the environment, however. What happens if a gust of wind or pilot error sends the drone into, say, a beautiful and delicate geothermal hot spring? The bio-drone, developed by researchers at NASA's Ames Research Center in California, is a biodegradable solution to this issue.
Roaches to the rescue? When the world crumbles around us (presumably due to nuclear holocaust), popular theory says that cockroaches will still keep going … and going … and going. Now scientists are trying to harness the humble bug's endurance to assist in disasters more immediate than the end of the world.