Kaleidoscopic Drone Footage Takes You To Mind-Bending Places That Can't Really Exist

Kaleidoscopic Drone Footage Takes You To Mind-Bending Places That Can't Really Exist

It looks like drone pilot and videographer Alban Roinard somehow managed to fly his quadcopter into the dream worlds of Christopher Nolan’s Inception. But watching these European cities fold onto themselves isn’t the result of a million dollars-worth of special effects; it’s just simple mirroring tricks applied to captivating aerial footage.

Ever since drones got powerful enough to hoist decent cameras we’ve been inundated with spectacular aerial views of almost every city on earth—to the point where it’s almost boring to watch now. But this video shared by Parker Paul introduces a new twist, literally, that makes them captivating to watch again.

[Vimeo via BoingBoing]

Published at Wed, 13 Sep 2017 16:13:00 +0000

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FAA Air Traffic Report

FAA Air Traffic Report

August 25, 2017 – Get a heads-up on any daily impacts to normal air traffic operations.

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Lockheed Martin previews a future of tiny space telescopes

Lockheed Martin previews a future of tiny space telescopes

Lockheed Martin, Flickr

Current space telescopes are… big. You can’t really avoid it given the need for giant lenses and bulky sensors. Lockheed Martin wants to fix that — the aerospace firm has just released the first images from SPIDER (Segmented Planar Imaging Detector for Electro-Optical Reconnaissance), an optical instrument that promises pictures as sharp as what you’d get from a space telescope in a sensor that’s just an inch thick. Instead of using a handful of monolithic lenses, it relies on a legion of small lenses whose data is divided and recombined using a photonic circuit. The initial results aren’t spectacular, but they hold a lot of promise.

As you can see below, the images are fuzzy compared to the source material. However, it’s important to remember that this the prototype of an entire optical system that’s much smaller and lighter than what you’re used to — in that light, it’s fairly impressive. And Lockheed expects it to be more affordable, especially since you wouldn’t need as large a vessel to launch a telescope into space. If SPIDER enters service, more countries and companies could consider building their own telescopes.

Lockheed adds that the technology wouldn’t just be limited to spaceborne uses. UAVs and other drones could look directly below them without needing a heavy, conspicuous camera underneath, while self-driving cars could have sensors that blend into the chassis. You probably won’t see this tech show up in your next smartphone, but it could help with many larger devices where an optical system’s size and weight can make a big difference.

Lockheed Martin's SPIDER image samples

Published at Sun, 06 Aug 2017 21:02:00 +0000

Breaking Into a Russian Military Base to See an Abandoned Soviet Space Shuttle Was Worth the Risk

Breaking Into a Russian Military Base to See an Abandoned Soviet Space Shuttle Was Worth the Risk

Because any trip to see a Soviet shuttle is worth it as long as no one’s wearing handcuffs at the end.

A group of YouTubers going by the name Exploring the Unbeaten Path traveled to the middle of nowhere to get a look at some space shuttles from the suspended Soviet-era Buran programme. Located at the Baikonur Cosmodrome spaceport in Kazakhstan, the hanger that the group would have to infiltrate is abandoned but the base is still active.

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The world’s first and largest space launch facility, Baikonur is leased by the Russian government and all crewed Russian missions still launch from there. Commercial and military missions are also staged at the spaceport, and soldiers patrol the area.

Although the explorers have numerous scares, they manage to get into the facility and spend a lot of time. They brought back tons of footage of the shuttles on the inside and out, even managing to fly a drone through the enormous hanger.

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These shuttles are an important piece of space history and it would be great to see them get better treatment. The Buran programme was Russia’s reusable spacecraft plan that was hobbled by the collapse of the Soviet Union. Only one unmanned mission flew during the program and the orbiter was later crushed in a hanger collapse. The program was indefinitely suspended in 1993 and one test vehicle in great condition resides at the Technik Museum Speyer.

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Take a glimpse at this beautiful space that you’d probably never make it into, risk free.

[Exploring the Unbeaten Path via Digg]

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Published at Sat, 08 Jul 2017 22:13:47 +0000

Oscar Mayer's 'Wienerdrone' is the most 4th of July thing ever

Oscar Mayer's 'Wienerdrone' is the most 4th of July thing ever

Oscar Mayer

Move over, burrito drones. Oscar Mayer has something that’s much more appropriate for the summer months, especially the 4th of July. Yep, the company has a hot dog-carrying drone, or as it’s officially named, the Wienerdrone.

Revealed earlier this week, the UAV offers aerial delivery of encased meat products, but it can only carry one hot dog at a time. That makes it much less efficient than its Wienerfleet stablemates like the Wiener Rover and the also newly-announced Wienercycle that has a sidecar to keep its cargo warm.

Of course, the Wienerdrone does offer “remote location delivery,” according to Oscar Mayer. It can also fly at altitudes over 1,000 feet. As you might expect, the company says this is indeed the “first unmanned hot dog-carrying aircraft,” but here’s to hoping version 2.0 carries enough cargo to at least satisfying the craving of a normal-sized human. For now, watch the drone drop a wiener in the video below. Mmm, wieners.

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Published at Sun, 02 Jul 2017 10:17:00 +0000

Toyota wants flying cars in time for the 2020 Olympics

Toyota wants flying cars in time for the 2020 Olympics

Cartivator

Toyota has joined the flying car craze by backing a group working on a drone-like vehicle that would soar 10 meters (33 feet) above the ground at speeds up to 100 km/h (62 mph). The “Skydrive” is being developed by Cartivator, a startup with around 30 young volunteers working with drone expert Masafumi Miwa from Tokushima University. The aim is to get the car flying by next year and have it commercialized in time to light the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games torch.

The 2.9 meter (9.5 foot) long SkyDrive would be the “world’s smallest” flying EV, though it’s worth noting that as of today, there are exactly no commercial flying cars. Cartivator’s model would be able to take off from any public road and be “intuitive” and easy to control, according to its Zenmono crowdfunding page.

Toyota chipped in around 40 million yen ($353,000) and offered the expertise of its mechanical engineers. The group has also received help from Taizo Sun, the founder of Japanese web game developer GungHo Online Entertainment, and about 2.5 million yen ($22,000) in crowdfunding pledges.

A lot of companies, including Uber, Larry Page’s Kitty Hawk startup and Chinese firm Ehang are working on flying cars, making them the tech world’s fanciful product du jour. However, testing and certifying aircraft in the US requires millions of dollars and the cooperation of federal regulators, so building one isn’t as easy as some pundits are making it seem. The HondaJet, for instance, was certified by the FAA in 2015, 12 years after the original proof-of-concept craft made its first flight.

Flying cars have fired the public’s imagination for decades, and the technology seems to be finally falling into place to make it happen. However, even if someone did build a cheap, safe and efficient sky car, officials would have to figure out how to license them, train pilots and work them into the air traffic control system, among numerous other hurdles.

However, Toyota has become keen on new technology, and announced plans last week to invest around 1.05 trillion yen ($9.3 billion) on new technology, even if it may seem outlandish now. “Things will not progress if you wait and provide money only when the technology is ready,” Toyota Chairman Takeshi Ichiyamada told Nikkei Asian Revew.

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Published at Mon, 15 May 2017 12:48:00 +0000

Skier Captures Awesome Aerial Footage of His Stunts By Just Throwing His GoPro 

Skier Captures Awesome Aerial Footage of His Stunts By Just Throwing His GoPro 

Despite what drone makers want you to think, you don’t need to buy an expensive camera-equipped quadcopter to capture awesome aerial footage of your adventures. GoPro sells an $800 drone just for this, but skier Nicolas Vuignier discovered he could get similarly impressive results by just chucking his GoPro camera in the air.

You might remember Vuignier as the skier who recreated The Matrix’s bullet-time effect by swinging his iPhone around his head. This time he modified a GoPro with a tail, using a prototype of the AER accessory we saw last year, so that when thrown wind-resistance would always keep it pointed in the same direction.

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Capturing decent footage with this approach was still hit and miss. A 10-day ski adventure yielded only two or three usable shots every day, and the GoPro was always recording at high-speed to produce smooth, watchable slow-mo shots. It meant footage was limited to lower resolutions, but hey—it also saved Vuignier at least $800.

[YouTube]

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Published at Fri, 05 May 2017 18:07:00 +0000

Watch Cherry Blossoms Suddenly Explode Into Life in This Stunning Timelapse Footage

Watch Cherry Blossoms Suddenly Explode Into Life in This Stunning Timelapse Footage

It’s that time of year when Mother Nature puts on her best fireworks show with pink and white cherry blossoms. By now your Instagram feed is probably clogged with endless shots of cherry trees, but this spectacular drone footage captured by Jack Johnston is still worth your time.

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Shooting timelapse footage with a flying drone is tricky because you need to recreate the exact flight multiple times. Battery life limitations mean you unfortunately can’t just leave a drone hanging in mid-air for days on end. But by blending the footage from multiple flights in post-production, you can make it look like reality is speeding up.

Johnston captured countless aerial timelapses of cherry trees blossoming in Japan for a BBC Springwatch special, but compiled some of the best shots into this minute-and-a-half highlight reel. It’ll either delight you or make you sneeze. Or both!

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[Vimeo via PetaPixel]

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Published at Fri, 28 Apr 2017 20:56:00 +0000