April 11th, 2016
Frederick lee brooke presents

Flights of Fancy: Weird, Wacky, and Wonderful Drone Inventions

For many years, drone usage was restricted to practical applications, in large part due to the expensive price of drones and the inability for the general public to purchase them.

Now, with drones becoming far easier to purchase or build at home, adventurous pilots have begun inventing new and unusual ways to use unmanned aerial vehicles.

Restaurants are currently testing out delivering sushi to tables by drone, clubs are flying bottles of champagne to the poolside, and companies from dry cleaners to florists are exploring ways to locally deliver products to consumers. While many private establishments have enjoyed success with their ideas, so long as the drone doesn’t leave their property, other business owners have had their drone operations stopped due to local regulations.

Pilots with an enthusiasm for science fiction are building drones that resemble vehicles from their favorite movies and shows. Photographs have emerged online of drones constructed to look like the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars and the Tardis from Dr. Who. With independent builders redecorating their drones, it may not be long before commercial drone companies follow suite, merchandising their products to attract the geek-savvy consumer.

Other inventors have taken science fiction inspiration to an even higher level. If you’ve seen the movie Back to the Future, you may recall a scene where protagonist Marty McFly sees a dog being taken for a walk by a flying drone. Jeff Myers, a videographer from New York City, create a viral video called Walking Dogs With Drones. He pre-programmed his drone with a map route, then attached the drone to his dog’s leash. The drone guided the dog along a short loop in his neighborhood. The video caused much controversy, with viewers listing the many possible dangers that could come to the dog when walked by a drone without the supervision of a person. Though such technology may not be a viable tool in dog walking anytime soon, the experiment served as yet another example of how the imagined technologies in science fiction can become a reality.

An even more controversial inventor, Austin Haughwout, from Connecticut, used a flying drone with a flame thrower attachment to cook a turkey. Using a commercially purchased drone that he modified with 3D printed parts, Haughwout put the turkey on a spit and conducted his experiment outside. Though Haughwout didn’t get into trouble with the law over his flame thrower cook out, this young inventor has come under scrutiny before for his potentially dangerous experiments, and inventions such as his raise important questions about drone regulations.

With such unusual drone inventions occurring so early in the history of drones being made commercially available, the future is bound to be full of unique and exciting developments.