For many 2015 is the year of dreams. I mean that because this is the year we all have hoverboards, flying cars and self-tying shoelaces. I am of course referring to the 30th Anniversary of the ever-popular film Back to the Future. This is, of course, inspiring all kinds of attention, from Nike announcing last year that they would release actual self-tying shoelaces and Pepsi are even releasing the future Pepsi bottom seen in the second film. Sadly though if you want to get the third in this trio of items and live in the UK we have bad news for you.
The metropolitan police today tweeted (yes that’s how we get our laws these days), that using a hoverboard on public roads or pavements is actually illegal. The only place you could ride such a device would be on private property with the express permission of the property owner, so for a large majority of the UK that means using a hoverboard to get to work just won’t be possible.
The news only gets worse with this ruling also applying to self-balancing scooters such as segways or the handleless version called a Swagway. As these are motorised and have no license you can’t ride them on the road or the pavement it would seem.
The law that makes this impossible? Section 72 of the Highway Act 1835, that’s right it is 180 years old and is stopping us from driving our hoverboards to work. Even worse if you live in Scotland as it breaches the 181-year section 129(5) of the Roads act.
Researcher José Martínez Carranza from the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics in Mexico developed a new way for drones to operate on their own and use much cheaper tech to navigate, like accelerometers, gyroscopes and camcorders.
This was made possible with an algorithm that drops GPS support in favour of visual feedback. The drones can view the terrain similar to how we see it on Google Maps and orient themselves using the above mentioned technology. If you’ve played games that have unmanned aerial vehicles which you can send by clicking on a map, then you know how this drone can operate in real-life too.
Of course there are more factors to take into account other than the 2D spatial positioning. This is where the accelerometers and gyroscopes come in, helping the drone to properly position itself into the right direction and readjust in case of harsh wind conditions or other external factors that might affect the drone’s orientation. However, the project is still at its early stages, so don’t expect the drones to do loops or move like jet fighters.
Martínez said that he wants to add support for wearable devices for people to control the drones and aid in a variety of situations where drones are most suitable, such as surveillance, exploration of properties and other areas.
Thank you Phys.org for providing us with this information
It looks like 3D Robotics have launched the DroneKit API for drone app development as a free open source software. The API can be used to develop apps for drones or onboard drone software, having it be completely flexible and multi-platform oriented.
“Unlike other APIs for drones, there are no levels of access to DroneKit; it’s completely flexible and open,” said Brandon Basso, VP of software engineering for 3DR. “The platform works on laptops as well as mobile devices. Best of all, once an app is created, the app automatically works on any computing platform – the interface is always the same.”
The company is said to have released the API to the community so that people interested in drones are able to customise how they use them in the field. The DroneKit API is said to allow you to set waypoint flight paths, follow GPS targets, while also allowing the developer to view playbacks and log analysis of flights.
The above mentioned features are just an example of what the API brings to developers, having it come with a variety of feature which were previously unavailable to drone enthusiasts.
Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information
According to TechCrunch Path and Pinterest are waging war over logo similarities. Path, a mobile messaging startup company, is looking to prevent social media firm Pinterest from acquiring the trademark to the stylised P. The U.S Trademark Office allowed Pinterest’s trademark registration on the proposed design but Path has asked for an extension in order to file an opposite to the trademark which it believes could force it to have to change its logo. Other Eagle Eyed tech publications have pointed out that Po.st and the Philadelphia Phillies have striking similarities to Pinterest so if the new trademark is granted to Pinterest they could all face legal challenges.
The differences are striking and a lot is potentially at stake in legal terms over what would be called “consumer confusion” between the two similar logos. This is made more important due to the fact Path and Pinterest both offer similar services. At the current stage their is no way of telling which way the courts might go in terms of a judgement on the decision but both Path and Pinterest have strong arguments for their cases. Read the full details of the legal dispute right here.