Swiss Researchers Built Robotic Vampire Bat for Search and Rescue

It isn’t easy to create a multi-terrain aerial robot, at least not without adding multiple propulsion features. Up until now they usually carried both wheels and wings to be able to travel in both elements, which in return would increase both weight and size, and thereby mobility and operating time.

Swiss researchers have now created a new type of vehicle that is designed for search and rescue operations, the DALER (Deployable Air-Land Exploration Robot). The robot uses adaptive morphology inspired by the common vampire bat, Desmodus Rotundus, meaning that the wings have been actuated using a foldable skeleton mechanism covered with a soft fabric such that they can be used both as wings and as legs (whegs).

The researchers behind the project hope that the DALER might be able to find victims in disaster areas much quicker than with current methods. It could be deployed and sent out to an affected area where it would switch to ground mode and crawl through tight spaces like collapsed buildings to quickly find injuries people.

If successful, it could decrease the rescue time significantly simple by allowing the rescue workers to focus their energy on the area where they are needed. The current version can’t take off again by itself and return to its airbase, but that is something that is being worked on for the next prototype.

Thanks to cnBeta for providing us with this information

How to Make Your Own Racing Drone

Popular tech-centric YouTube channel ‘Tested’ has produced a handy guide to producing your own racing drone.

Racing quadcopters have been the subject of a number of enthralling YouTube videos, showing packs of drones whizzing past trees at ridiculous speeds with inches to spare. Just take a look at this one:

Now take a look at the tutorial to learn how to make your own:

Source: Gizmodo

Disneyland and Walt Disney World Become No-Fly Zones

Ever wondered why there aren’t many aerial photos of Disney’s theme parks around? Gizmodo has just complied information that they’ve become highly protected no-fly zones quite some time ago. These prohibited air spaces are said to come around for other reasons than general terror threat.

Flash back to 2003, Disney had successfully talked Congress into declaring the airspace around its theme parks as a no-fly zone. This reportedly came at a good time due to Congress passing big spending bills all centered around the war in Iraq, meaning Disney were able to sneak in their bill which had been on the table for a long time. The space in question actually includes a three mile radius around Disneyland and Walt Disney World, not just the buildings themselves.

According to reports, the main reason they wanted this passed wasn’t due to threat of bombing, photography or bird poop – it’s due to aerial advertisements. We further learned that other theme parks don’t get no-fly zone privileges, even if a terror thread is possible. A Disney spokeswoman, Leslie Goodman, announced at the time of the bill passing:

 “The sole and exclusive motivation for seeking these restrictions is for the safety and enjoyment of our guests”

She went on to explain that this restriction was targeted at things such as “banner ads from trial lawyers” and pilots “buzzing the parks.”

Due to this ruling, there was over 100 aerial advertising companies that were effectively shut down from operations, seeing them lose business until breaking point. However, you’re not plastered with advertisements while you’re trying to enjoy your triple priced hot dog and find your lost third son in the crowd.

Image courtesy of Travel Channel

Is It a Bird? Is It a Plane? Nope, It’s a Flying Police Man.

UK-based manufacturer Parajet International now believe that one-man flying machines are now viable option for the police and military. If you are thinking this sounds like a game of Halo 4, jet packing your way through a map to snipe someone, that’s because it is exactly what they’re trying to create… or at least something similar, think more Inspector Gadget with a small glider on hit head, less Master Chief and you’ll be on the right lines.

“In the Middle East and South America they’re using them for a multitude of different things,” managing director Tom Prideaux-Brune told Reuters at the Farnborough Airshow. “Border patrol, search and rescue, aerial reconnaissance, medical supply, anti-poaching operations – all sorts of different things.”

Even US police forces are using them now in a bid to track down and locate cannabis farms. They’re quick to deploy, simple to operate and have low running costs, especially so when compared to helicopters.

“One person was able to take off and fly over a vast area of woodland for two hours. They located the cannabis farms and then simply called in the troops. Instead of 30-40 guys on the ground sweeping an entire forest, it required just three. It’s really very efficient.”

Each Parajet kit comes equipped with a glider, motor-driver propeller harness, helmet and other safety equipment, with a total purchase cost of around £9,000 / $15,400. Parajet are hardly the first to make such a device, but they are the first to make them to military specifications.

“We’re not saying ‘Hey listen, a paramotor can do the job of a helicopter.’ What we’re saying is that at certain times a paramotor can be used as an appropriate, cheaper alternative,” said Prideaux-Brune. “Don’t send a dumper truck to do a wheelbarrow’s job.”

Now some police forces are looking to deploy them in built-up urban areas, as they’re cheaper than drones and you get the human element as well. However it’s unlikely that UK police forces will be too eager to use the system as Parajet say the system doesn’t work very well in rain, and we have plenty of that here.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information.

 

Gigabyte Fly Headphones Review

Gigabyte is not known for their audio product, but that’s mostly because they’ve never really dived into that part of the market. Gigabyte is a brand I’m sure most of you are more than familiar with and have earned them selves on of the best reputations in the industry for high performance PC motherboards, not to mention some of the most popular budget friendly motherboards too.

Gigabyte is no stranger to the world of peripherals though and products like the Krypton mouse have already proven themselves to be some of my favourite gaming mice on the market, which proved to me that Gigabyte is more than capable of making things out side of the motherboard market. Yet other than two pairs of fairly standard PC desktop speakers, audio is a new area for them and it will be interesting to see what they have to offer.

Priced at around $50 they are not overly expensive, a suitable price range for your average consumer and so long as they have decent performance and style they could be an interesting contender for this section of the market.

The box for the Fly features a large window panel that gives us a clear view of the headset.

Around the back we have a much more detailed run down of some of the features:

  • DJ headset driver units for heavy beats
  • 79 grams for long time wearing* (without cables)
  • Rhombus pattern headband design
  • Blocks outside noise with soft leather ear cushions

In the box I found a simple user information leaflet and the headphones themselves. With two on-ear drivers, a thing headband and a hard-wired cable the set looks pretty snazzy and it’s seriously light weight too, although first impressions are that it’s also well constructed and the thing headband feels a lot more durable than it looks.

The headband is barely a millimeter thick and this makes it super discreet and it’s quite literally the other end of the scale from most other headsets which features a thick band, or large plastic mold.

The jack plug is a little bulky given the slimline design of the rest of the set but it’s also very durable and that’s never a bad thing as this is often the first area to fail on headphones.

The cables are sleeved in bright blue vinyl and combined with the blue accents on the headphones, the bright brushed steel looks and the soft leather it gives the set a very chic retro look, very cool looking indeed.

The ear cups are finished with soft leather-like material that is very comfortable because there is a little bit of rotation in the drivers, as well as a clever slide adjustment where the headband goes deeper inside the ear cup, you can get a really good fit on your head that is both comfortable and good at blocking out ambient noise.

Performance

It’s incredible how light these headphones feel on your head, but that’s mostly because there is hardly anything there, this is one of the thinnest headbands I’ve ever seen and this is possible because of the reinforced steel construction and its more than strong enough to provide a snug fit over your ears. This snug fit really helps bring out the bass frequencies and given their light weight there is certainly nothing light about the bass heavy drivers. High frequencies are crystal clear too and while it looses some of the mid tone warmth that I like a lot, you can get a little of this back by tuning down bass and treble on your EQ, it’s not perfect, but it’s a sound that’s pretty well suited to a wide range of music.

Things can get a little muddy sounding at high volumes, but generally only when listening to extremely intense music at volume that would be considered uncomfortable (or inadvisable as the case may be) and it’s nothing out of the ordinary for most headphones in this price range.

Final Thoughts

The sound is a little clinical overall and while it does suit a multitude of styles quite well, it’s strong point is bass heavy music such as Dubstep, Dance and pretty much anything electronic. But given the funky blue vinyl coating on the cables I think this is a headset well suited to the trendy music loving, style conscious consumer which is pretty much everything I am not.

Gigabyte have a strong first entry to the headphone market here and I personally hope they follow it up quickly with something else, there is room for improvement here with the EQ and drivers, there is definitely potential for greatness if they get the balance right here. I would also love to see a full over ear design with less focus on compact design and more focus on a fuller sound experience but when it comes to a slim, light weight and highly mobile product I think Gigabyte offer something as good or better than most anything on the market for this price range, even more so for anything within this size and weight category.

I wouldn’t feel comfortable paying $50 for them personally, but that’s only because I know they’re not really ideal for my kind of music tastes and I’m the sort of person who looks anything but cool when I try to pull of something trendy like this, yet that is no fault of Gigabyte and I still think they have a great product here.

If you can get them just a little cheaper than $50 and you need light weight headphones with a heavy bass line, the you would be wise to check out the Fly.