Chris Anderson's Blog – March 2012 Archive (33)

Using drones to monitor irrigation in orange fields

From Smithsonian Magazine:

Water management researchers have been experimenting with unmanned drones that can fly over an orchard and record heat levels across vast swathes of land using aerial imagery. Thermal infrared…


Added by Chris Anderson on March 12, 2012 at 1:12pm — 2 Comments

DIY Drones at 23,000 members!

As is customary and traditional, we celebrate every new 1,000 members here and share the traffic stats. This time it's 23,000!

There were more than 1.41 million page views this month, which is a record. It just took us four weeks to get this latest 1,000 members--we're averaging about one new member every 43 minutes.

Thanks as always to all the…


Added by Chris Anderson on March 11, 2012 at 8:21pm — 1 Comment

FPV with the AR.Drone with head-up display

The Epson Movereo BT-100 is an Android-powered transparent video goggle, with interesting hacking potential. This 16-year old kid decided to show what they can do by flying an AR.Drone in FPV mode.

From …


Added by Chris Anderson on March 9, 2012 at 12:41pm — 2 Comments

New free Xbee configurator

For those of you frustrated with Digi's X-CTU Xbee configuration software, there's now an alternative. Massimo Banzi, the Arduino team leader (who I'm having dinner with tonight in Rome!), reports:

Italian company “moltosenso” has…


Added by Chris Anderson on March 8, 2012 at 7:57am — 9 Comments

For want of one "line replaceable unit", a $73m drone was lost

We don't cover military drones here, but I'll make an exception for this fascinating accident report. We've all lost drones due to technical malfunctions, so we can sympathize with this. At least ours didn't cost $73 million.



Added by Chris Anderson on March 7, 2012 at 5:28pm — 33 Comments

New on DIY Drones: Badges! Which ones should we use?

Ning, the hosting platform that DIY Drones uses, has just enabled badges! We've been asking for these for a long time so I'm thrilled. What that means is that administrators such as myself can now recognize members for their contributions and award them badges that reflect their skills and accomplishments. 

The badges are little image files that show up on the members profile picture, everywhere they appear, so you can see their status at a…


Added by Chris Anderson on March 7, 2012 at 8:03am — 16 Comments

This is the last weekend for T3 entries!

The deadline for the current T3 competition (auto takeoff and landing) is Sunday night! I know it's still winter in much of the world, but let's get some more entries in. Right now only the UDB team has got their act together with a some…


Added by Chris Anderson on March 3, 2012 at 10:04am — 4 Comments

White House: DIY Drones as a great example of innovation in "cyberphysical systems"

The New America Foundation had a conference in Washington DC last week called "Tinkering with Tomorrow: Will the DIY Movement Craft the Future?

The full conference is recorded in the video above, but check it at at the 30:00 mark, when Tom Kalil, the Associate Director of White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, singles out DIY Drones as a great…


Added by Chris Anderson on March 2, 2012 at 9:30pm — 3 Comments

NASA UAV experiment attempts to stop flutter with software

NASA and Lockheed Martin have teamed up to create the X-56A, which is designed to use sensors and fast-response control loops to stop wing flutter, which can be a killer in high-aspect ratio wings. From Wired's…


Added by Chris Anderson on March 2, 2012 at 9:02pm — 1 Comment

Quad perches with bird-like feet

From IEEE Spectrum

Here's a quadrotor with giant spindly bird legs from the Utah Telerobotics Lab. It's a passive system which uses the weight of the robot to actuate the grippers, so that…


Added by Chris Anderson on March 2, 2012 at 8:47am — 5 Comments

World paper airplane record

This is a little off-topic for us, but here's a new achievement in aeronautics: a new paper airplane distance record of more than 266 feet. I'm particularily proud of our former University of Berkeley quarterback who had the winning throw. There was a little sticky tape on the plane, which is allowed by the rules, so it's not 100% paper, but the…


Added by Chris Anderson on March 2, 2012 at 1:20am — 4 Comments

Great analysis of VC funding for robotics startups in 2011

Hizook has a great analysis of VC funding for robotics companies in 2011. There isn't as much of it as you might expect (note that only one is for a UAV company, Helen Greiner's CyPhy Works, which has yet to release a product). Here's his explanation for…


Added by Chris Anderson on March 1, 2012 at 7:00pm — 9 Comments

TED Talk on U Penn swarming quads now live

This great talk, given yesterday at TED, is now live. I was here and the crowd was wowed. Check out the lovely math on simplifying the 12-dimensional math to 4 dimensions at around the 5:00…


Added by Chris Anderson on March 1, 2012 at 1:24pm — 12 Comments

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