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Flying Robots Compete
8/5/2013

University of Michigan engineers took first place at last year's  International Aerial Robotics Competition with a flying robot that came closest to completing all the tasks.(Source: University of Michigan)
University of Michigan engineers took first place at last year's International Aerial Robotics Competition with a flying robot that came closest to completing all the tasks.
(Source: University of Michigan)

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Susan Rambo
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Drones over USA
Susan Rambo   8/5/2013 10:46:47 AM
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Now that FAA has approved some drones to fly over US airspace, general public might watch this competition closely to see what to expect of the latest drone models. To say the least, what will the future bring? Drone swatting devices, like brooms, could be very useful.

Tom Murphy
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Re: Drones over USA
Tom Murphy   8/5/2013 11:44:04 AM
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I like the idea of adding a crotchety person with a broom to the obstacles!  But seriously, I wonder if a magnet is really the best device to pick up a flash drive...?   First, not all drives would respond to a magnet. And second, could magnetism damage the files on the drive?

That said, the designs are quite impressive.

rick merritt
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Re: Drones over USA
rick merritt   8/5/2013 11:45:10 AM
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I like Susan's "drone swatting devcies"...a new emerging market...perhaps electronic pesticides, too...RAAAAIIIDDD!

These devcies look like fun though and kudos to my old school UoM...Go Blue!

Tom Murphy
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Re: Drones over USA
Tom Murphy   8/5/2013 1:34:02 PM
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Somewhat, but not entirely, facetiously, I wonder if we'll soon see some sort of earthbound device to shoot down tiny drones.  Tiny surface-to-air missiles seem like they'd be too costly and a bit heavy handed anyway.  Maybe a radar-guided laser device?

Drones may seem like a fun hobby-like gizmo now. But I think they will quickly become the focus of public ire depending on their size, sound, capabilities, and purpose.

Caleb Kraft
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Re: Drones over USA
Caleb Kraft   8/5/2013 1:40:16 PM
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It is actually legal for anyone to fly these things as long as they don't go above a certain height! This means, it is legal for your neighbor to fly one over your back yard, but not above the clouds. Kind of crazy right?

Caleb Kraft
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Re: Drones over USA
Caleb Kraft   8/5/2013 1:43:16 PM
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There are absolutely devices for precisely this. I suspect you already knew that, because they tend to be lasers, like you mentioned. 

Consumers won't have anything for a long time though because you would need FAA clearance to fire a laser skyward like that. Some people have had some fun with signal jamming, but that is also incredibly illegal. For the time being a good old fashion slingshot might just be the most effective solution.

Susan Rambo
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Re: Drones over USA
Susan Rambo   8/5/2013 1:46:32 PM
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This is what I was wondering. Oh no. We've seen the enemy and the enemy is our neighbors? Yikes. 

It's easy to imagine that new homes well have to come with anti-drone security in the future to keep our nosy neighbors' drones out of our houses and backyards. Drone TV will be the latest cheap show to watch -- like reality tv. Thieves will use drones case our your house. 

Tom Murphy
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Re: Drones over USA
Tom Murphy   8/5/2013 1:52:18 PM
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Caleb: Nothing wrong with a surface-to-air slingshot, but you'd have to be quite a marksman.  I had not heard previously about drone-killing lasers, but the FAA ban on firing lasers into the sky would indeed limit those.\

I like the idea of frequency-jammers and I suspect if they were low power, that might work.  That would probably be an FCC-controlled item in the US, and as I recall, most FCC rules apply to transmitters starting at a particular power level (which is why pirate radio stations can broadcast).  That might be enough to keep pesky drones out of your backyard. (Anyone know what frequencies these things use?)

Another idea: a high-power airguns that literally blow them away.

rob.cichon
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Re: Drones over USA
rob.cichon   8/5/2013 4:02:21 PM
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Spud Gun. Plans for this device abound and it's probably legal. Load a potato, aim and launch the spud with compressed air or ignited flammable propellant. I don't think there is a Regulatory Agency for such a device either, YMMV.

Susan Rambo
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Re: Drones over USA
Susan Rambo   8/5/2013 4:08:17 PM
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@rob.cichon: Spud Gun. Brilliant suggestion. Of course, it's better used outside rather than inside the house. 

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