NPR : News

Filed Under:

Drone It To Me, Baby

Spies used them first, then the Air Force, then cops, then mischievous civilians; Drones, for some reason, are what gawkers use to gawk. They're spy accessories. But not only spy accessories. Thanks to Jasper van Loenen, drones are about to expand their repertoire. The word "drone" is about to become a verb, as in "Drone it to me"...

For his graduation thesis at Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam, Jasper, a young artist/designer came up with a handy-dandy, easy-to-use assembly kit that lets you send small objects through the air to a nearby recipient — a sort of UPS of the sky.

I don't want to ruin this before you see it, but if you know somebody across campus who needs a telephone, a keyboard, a spare bicycle wheel, a surfboard, and you don't want to get out of bed and walk it over, with Jasper's kit all you have to do is open your window and do this ...

"I like programming," Jasper writes on his homepage. "I'm interested in taking stuff away from the computer screen and finding ways to look at and interact with information." Since it is already possible, he says, to download an open-source gun, generate your own currency – why not a do-it-yourself drone? Why not, he writes, "claim your piece of sky?"

Postscript

Well, I know one reason why. Because videos are not like real life. If I tried something like this, a propeller would fall off, the plugs wouldn't work, the cargo would slip, dangle and crash to earth — something, different things, but always something would go wrong. Jasper knows this, too. Snooping around on his Vimeo site, I found a video of one of his earlier attempts to get a drone into the air. (That's what it looks like, anyway.) It's labeled "Quad in the Snow," because that's where he ends up, upside down ... in the snow:

But over the months, he apparently got better, and so, I suppose, might I. The real question here is how much room is there in our sky for all the ideas now being contemplated? Spybots, toybots, little moving vans, not to mention whatever Jasper and his pals think up next. Crows, sparrows and tree perching birds (not to mention trees) can't go to court, but if they could, they'd be asking some judge: "Come on! You guys can't hog all the space. A little respect, please! We all need to share."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Burt Shavitz, Face Of Burt's Bees, Dies At 80

Burt Shavitz, the eccentric co-founder of Burt's Bees skin care products, has died at age 80. His bearded face is on your lip balm.
NPR

Mechanization Brings Quick Change To Borneo Region Known For 'Slow Rice'

A company is introducing mechanized rice farming to the interior of Malaysian Borneo for the first time. Scientists say the change may damage the bonds between the local people and their environment.
NPR

U.N. Report Highlights Surprising Global Progress On Poverty Goals

In 2000 the world's leaders agreed on an ambitious plan for attacking global poverty by 2015. Called the Millennium Development Goals, these time-bound targets spurred an unprecedented aid effort that helped slash the share of people living in extreme poverty in half. Now nations are hammering out an even broader set of goals for 2030, but this time the task is proving highly controversial. The Millennium Development Goals were drafted in a highly casual way and that simple process proved the key to their success.
NPR

Hacking Team Breach Reveals Firm Sold Spying Tools To Repressive Regimes

What happens when one of the most notorious hacking companies gets hacked? That's the situation unfolding for one Italian company, which sells surveillance software to governments across the globe.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.