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Science, Space & Robotics Posts - Page 16

Drones getting smarter, and must be able to fly over cities safely

Drones invaded the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), with attendees able to see the latest and greatest consumer drone products. As more first-time pilots and hobbyists take to the skies in 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is scrambling to help find methods to teach proper flight safety.




Meanwhile, drone makers are increasing technology - and while it's recommended to fly in areas less populated - that simply won't be possible as more first-time pilots begin to fly drones. Designers are working on drones that could be able to utilize built-in autonomous technology so they can avoid other drones, trees, buildings, streetlights and other obstacles - but that isn't currently possible.


Universities and private companies are working on new algorithms to make drones smarter, along with new emergency landing features. One solution being developed is image recognition software paired with tracking software so drones can identify helicopter landing pads for opportunities to land.

Study: Apple iPhone separation really does cause anxiety to users

Apple iPhone users separated from their smartphone can suffer from "physiological anxiety" and "poor cognitive performance," according to "The Extended iSelf: The Impact of iPhone Separation on Cognition, Emotion, and Physiology" study, published by the University of Missouri.




The researchers first tasked survey participants to sit down and complete a puzzle while near their smartphone, and then had to take a second survey with their phone in a different part of the room. However, researchers called the phone, with participants able to see their iPhone and could hear it ring - but couldn't answer the phone.


Participants had increased heart rate and blood pressure while trying to complete the puzzle in the second scenario. Researchers recommend iPhone users keep their smartphones nearby when completely tasks that involve significant attention, so no anxiety occurs.

Continue reading 'Study: Apple iPhone separation really does cause anxiety to users' (full post)

Report indicates US border drones are overly expensive, ineffective

It looks like the US government has shiny toys, and defense contractors are getting paid, but border drones cost $12,255 per hour to operate - and aren't very effective in detecting human smuggling or drug running.




The DHS has a fleet of 10 Predator B drones that are used to patrol selected locations of the US-Mexico border in Arizona and Texas, however, they logged just 5,102 hours of the planned 23,296 total flight hours per year. The DHS has invested $360 million into the program since 2005, and the department wants to spend upwards of $443 million for another 14 drones.


"Notwithstanding the significant investment, we see no evidence that the drones contribute to a more secure border, and there is no reason to invest additional taxpayer funds at this time," said John Roth, inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, in a statement.

Continue reading 'Report indicates US border drones are overly expensive, ineffective' (full post)

FAA issues drone permits for real estate, agriculture commercial use

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued drone flight permits for a real estate firm and agricultural farm in Washington to take to the skies.




Advanced Aviation Solutions will be able to conduct "crop scouting," while the Tierra Antigua Realty firm in Arizona will be able to film properties.


Advanced Aviation Solutions will use an eBee drone to measure fields and measure monitor health, in an effort to save time for farmers. Meanwhile, Tierra Antigua Realty plans to "enhance academic community awareness and augment real estate listing videos," according to the FAA.

Hobbico unveils the ORA drone system for hobbyist photographers

CES 2015 - Hobbico has announced its ORA drone system designed for hobbyist aerial photographers, a camera-equipped drone. The unit is designed for aerial photography and video recording, which has become increasingly popular for live sporting events, weddings, real estate planning, and other outdoors-based tasks.




Operators can capture aerial images and display them on the transceiver's 7" touchscreen, and video footage can be filmed using ORA's 1080p onboard camera. The 7" First Person View (FPV) displays directly what the ORA's camera is viewing in real-time, providing an easier ability to capture pictures and video.


Up to 30-minutes of flight time is available per battery charge, with built-in GPS with up to 32 GPS waypoints, built-in GPS programming, and route flight paths saved.

Continue reading 'Hobbico unveils the ORA drone system for hobbyist photographers' (full post)

Consumer drone market estimated to reach $1 billion by 2018

The consumer drone market is increasing in popularity, and is forecasted to reach $130 million in 2015 - and could surpass $1 billion by 2018, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).




There are regulatory and environmental concerns related to commercial drones, with more focus on possible safety problems related to consumer use. Prices continue to fall at a fast pace, and interested buyers have a growing selection of possible products to purchase.


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is still trying to sort out consumer and commercial drone use, a growing necessity with so many private operators and corporations embracing drone use.

Continue reading 'Consumer drone market estimated to reach $1 billion by 2018' (full post)

Robots able to learn how to cook simply by watching YouTube videos

Researchers have been able to successfully teach robots how to cook based on watching YouTube videos, according to the University of Maryland and the NICTA Australian research center. There is a greater effort to advance artificial intelligence with deep learning, and robots were engendered commands for robots to perform based on cooking videos.




Researchers have shared their success in a recently published study, and will provide further details during the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence later this month.


"We believe this preliminary integrated system raises hope towards a fully intelligent robot for manipulation tasks that can automatically enrich its own knowledge resource by 'watching' recordings from the World Wide Web," according to researchers.

Escort Radar shows off Bluetooth-equipped radar detectors

CES 2015-Escort Radar plans to show off its Passport and Passport Max2 radar detectors during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), featuring Bluetooth-equipped products tied to the Escort Live ticket protection app.




As more devices, especially inside of vehicles, continue to include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and mobile apps, Escort wants to make sure its products provide the same connectivity. The company will unveil its Air Patrol and Intelligent Speed Traps social app, able to alert drivers to aircraft and "intelligent speed traps" that are located in the area.


If you're attending CES, Escort will first demo the solution tomorrow during the CES Unveiled Show in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.

Report: More than 5 trillion pieces of plastic pollute Earth's oceans

There is a significant amount of plastic and other trash floating in oceans across the planet, with more than 12 million pounds alone collected by the 28th Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup. There is 12.3 million pounds of trash spread across the coast of beaches and waterways, with an estimated 5 trillion pieces of plastic impacting wildlife in oceans.




Researchers are increasingly launching efforts to study garbage patches that are forming in oceans - as tons of garbage are harming ocean inhabitants across Earth.


"Ocean trash truly is a global problem that affects human health and safety, endangers marine wildlife, and costs states and nations countless millions in wasted resources and lost revenue," said Andreas Merkl, President and CEO of Ocean Conservancy, in a press statement. "At its core, however, ocean trash is not an ocean problem; it is a people problem - perpetuated by the ocean unwitting practices that industry and people have adopted over time. But I am convinced we can solve it if we have the audacity to confront the problem head-on."

Robots could explore space station because of Wi-Fi access

The Wi-Fi networks aboard the International Space Station (ISS) could allow robots to autonomously roam the orbiting research lab. The SPHERES robots have been aboard the ISS since 2006, mainly used in a small cube location that is marked by ultrasound beacon limiters.




This would be a unique opportunity to determine if robots would be able to carry out menial tasks board the ISS, so astronauts are able to handle more pressing activities. Operators from the NASA Ames Research Center want to discover if it'd be possible to direct SPHERES using the current ISS Wi-Fi infrastructure.


NASA and other participating space nations have shown increased interest in using robotics technology aboard the ISS - hoping to make the environmental safer to work in, while also helping astronauts with their workloads.

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