Monthly Archives: July 2016

July 26th, 2016
Frederick lee brooke presents (Drones) (1)

Dancing Drones: When Performance and Piloting Merge Forces

by Drone Reporter Rachel Borene

During week two of auditions for the popular reality show America’s Got Talent, audiences were treated to a spectacular performance by modern dance group Eleven Play, who mixed dance with drone piloting.

Based in Japan, this talented team of dancers and pilots is headed by choreographer Mikiko, who has worked professionally with musicians such as Suzuka Nakamoto and the Japanese band Perfume.

America’s Got Talent has seen its fair share of dancing mixed with technology. In 2015, dance teams Animation Crew, Freckled Sky, Freelusion, and Siro-A all hit the stage. Interacting with animations that were projected onto the stage, the dancers were able to create illusions that were both innovative and mesmerizing.

Of course, with so many dance crews utilizing this technology, what was once a fresh idea quickly threatened to become stale.

That’s when Eleven Play threw an entirely new flavor into the techno-dance world with their drones.

Rather than interacting with projections, these drones were physically present, adding an extra level of challenge for the dancers and backstage pilots. Eleven Play successfully utilized pinpoint precision and timing, which earned them a round of applause from the audience and a “yes” from every judge.

With so many new hobbies evolving to include drones—including photography, racing, and builder’s fairs- it was only a matter of time before the world of dance followed suite. Of course, being the first dance group widely known for such an incredible feat is what gives choreographers such as Mikiko a highly competitive edge.

Now that America, and the rest of the world, has seen what drones can do for dance, productions from small local theaters all the way to famous Broadway shows are sure to take note!

July 12th, 2016
Frederick lee brooke presents (Drones)

Shields in the Sky: Defense Against Rogue Drones 

by Drone Reporter Rachel Borene

As more drones take the sky, concerned citizens, as well as military officials, are
wondering what steps can be taken to protect people from rogue drones. Did you know that it’s currently illegal to destroy an unknown drone that’s flying in the airspace above your private property? Though it may seem like you own the airspace above your land, a properly registered drone is considered to be an official aircraft by the Federal Aviation Committee, and you can be punished for destroying a drone with fines or even up to twenty years in prison.

That’s right: blasting away a peeping drone can get you in trouble, rather than the pilot! Feeling offended or even frightened? As the need for protection against rogue drones increases, so too have the efforts of researchers to create methods that stop drones without destroying them. This is especially important in the case of drones that are spying for opposing military forces, as the government will need to capture and inspect the drone for evidence.

Perhaps the most obvious solution to intercept an uninvited drone is to catch it with
another drone, and that’s exactly what officials in Tokyo have done. Using what appears to be a DJI Spreading Wings 900 equipped with a 3 x 2-meter net, the drone in Tokyo scoops the enemy drone right out of the air.

Catching a drone may still be considered tampering with an aircraft, however, so
another solution is to set up alert systems that warn someone if a drone is on
their property. Using acoustic technology, Washington-based company Droneshield can
detect a drone from up to 150 miles away. The program then sends an alert by SMS,
text, or video to the property owner. It can even detect drones that are invisible to radar, and has been implemented in several prisons to intercept drones that are smuggling contraband to inmates. The Droneshield program was even rumored to have gained the interest of producers during the filming of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in an
attempt to keep curious fans from filming in the air space above the studio, though it’s reported that the program was never actually implemented during production. (4)

The next step after being alerted to a rogue drone is lead by the company Skysafe, who is working on a program that can safely take control of drones, overriding the
commands of the pilot. Once its controls are overridden by Skysafe, the drone can then be landed and any of its additional functions- such as filming- can be shut down. (5)

If an emergency situation occurs where a drone must be destroyed, researchers at Boeing, an aircraft manufacturing company, have developed a laser that blasts drones right out of the sky. Though invisible to the human eye, the laser strikes the drone with deadly precision, setting it on fire and rendering it completely useless.

Now, it may become obvious that several of these programs could be used against one
another. In the Netherlands, however, their drone defense system can’t be taken over
by competing technology—because they’re using birds! The Dutch National Police
Corps has partnered with a company called Guard From Above, and together, they’re
training large birds of prey—such as eagles—to snatch drones out of the sky.

No matter what the future holds, the journey of discovering a good defense system against rogue drones is just as exciting as drone technology itself!