Can't wait to see this in the flesh - er, cellulose. . Wired has on line and coming in the paper issue right away a large package for gadget freaks and for people looking forward to or afraid of do-it-yourself airborne robotic surveillance. It's the drone issue and while one has to celebrate the witty and impudent mischief that home owners might do with their own flying robots - peeping or perhaps dropping stink bombs on a neighbors too-noisy party (and flying in from behind a different neighbor's fence) - the package might have used a story fully devoted to ways that cheap, small drones might perform some smart, wholesome tasks.
First, I do appreciate what IS in it:
- Chris Anderson:How I Accidentally Kickstarted the Domestic Drone Boom ; The lead piece by Wired's editor-in-chief, who started a do-it-yourself drone club and now has a company making them. I like his muse that maybe FedEx and other air delivery services could not only use super-efficient robotic airplanes of large size, but they could save fuel surfing one another's wakes, flying in V-formation like monster geese.
- Noah Schachtman:Flying-Robot Cops, Farmers, and Oil Riggers Get to Work ;
- (No byline) No, You Can't Use a Drone to Spy on Your Sexy Neighbor;
- (No byline) Personal Drone's Secret Ingredient: iPhone ;
- Judy Dutton: Drones' Future: Supersonic Swarms of Robot Bugs ;
Anderson includes in his story this brief mention of drone applications that would attract intense appreciation from smart people (by that, I mean people who read ksjtracker):
And there are countless scientific uses for drones, from watching algal blooms in the ocean to low-altitude measurement of the solar reflectivity of the Amazon rain forest. Others are using the craft for wildlife management, tracking endangered species and quietly mapping out nesting areas that are in need of protection.
That's what I'd love to read more about. Maybe go out in the field and report it. To be sure, the passage does link to other Wired stories, one today and one earlier this year. Think of the possibilitites: Geoscientists flying their drone probes into the craters of burbling volcanoes, wildlife biologists keeping pace with flocks of birds or following a mountain lion or an eagle to its nest, a fish and game field researcher somehow attaching a tracking beacon to an elk or grizzly bear while staying hundreds of yards away, marine biologists monitoring narwhals out of easy reach across an ice-choked stretch of Arctic ocean, things such as that.True, these multi-rotor robot helicopters are surely noisy. But a giant buzzing insect might be less threatening to wildlife than some dork sneaking up in a sheep costume.
If anybody out in our vast and savvy readership has written such a piece or knows of one sombody else wrote or broadcast, please share (Suggest Stories function is one easy way).
- Charlie Petit