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Updated: 19 hours 20 min ago

Drone footage shows Apple's nearly finished spaceship campus against stunning sunset

June 24, 2017 - 10:19am

Apple's massive new spaceship campus, officially called "Apple Park," is nearly complete and should officially open later this year. New drone footage reveals how glorious the main campus and the Steve Jobs Theater look just as the sun is setting.

The new 2.8 million-square-foot headquarters will be home to over 12,000 Apple employees. It's Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive's most ambitious "product" to date, huge glass panels, toilets inspired by iPhones, patented pizza boxes that prevent pizza from getting soggy, and over 9,000 trees in the quad.

Just outside of the campus is the Steve Jobs Theater. The mini flying saucer-like auditorium will play stage to all future Apple product unveilings. It features 20-foot-tall glass panes (the world's largest glass panels) and has room to seat 1,000 people. Read more...

More about Tech, Apple, Drones, Steve Jobs, and Apple Park

IBM is trying to forecast the weather on every block, worldwide

June 23, 2017 - 10:41am

Some people were puzzled when IBM bought The Weather Company — including and several meteorological data firms — in 2015. However, since then, the company known for its Watson AI platform has been finding new applications for the weather data it is vacuuming up on a daily basis. 

Now comes news that IBM is getting into the weather modeling business, putting itself on a collision course with efforts from the federal government and other private firms, such as Panasonic. 

On June 21, The Weather Company announced it will collaborate with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, to develop next-generation weather models.  Read more...

More about Science, Weather, Drones, Artificial Intelligence, and Extreme Weather

Wisconsinites can now (legally) get 20 pounds of cheese and beer delivered by robot

June 22, 2017 - 2:23pm

Wisconsin has joined the land of autonomous delivery. If you live in the Badger State, you can now legally have your award-winning cheeses delivered to you 20 pounds at a time inside Starship Technologies' delivery bots. 

SEE ALSO: This little robot is like a Roomba for your garden

The state is the third in the United States to legalize sidewalk delivery by wheeled drones. The only stipulation is that the bots weigh 80 pounds or less, and a human must be in position to take control of the machine in case the six-wheeled pods try to steal a customer's cheese and/or beer. 

Starship bots weigh 40 pounds on their own and can carry 20 pounds of supplies, about the equivalent of 20 bricks of Widmer's 10-year aged cheddar cheese. Or four six-packs of Brenner Brewing's bacon bomb rauchbier, because even though I'm not sure about bacon-tasting beer, I'm pretty sure it would go well with cheese. Or maybe you should get two six-packs and 10 pounds of cheese, and then just not move for a while.  Read more...

More about Tech, Tech, and Drones

The future of drone delivery depends on predicting the weather

June 22, 2017 - 8:01am

Imagine a weather report so precise it provides wind-gust forecasts for individual city blocks. Such micro-weather data may soon become a reality—and a necessity for future fleets of delivery drones.

As Inc., United Parcel Service Inc., Domino’s Pizza Inc., and others gear up to launch autonomous drone deliveries of books, pills, and pizza, companies are realizing it’s the quality of hyperlocal weather data more than anything else that will steer their packages around storm clouds and through wind-buffeted urban canyons.

“The weather issue is a very significant one,” said Sean Cassidy, director of safety and regulatory affairs for Amazon’s drone unit. “We don’t have anything at the level of granularity that you would need to operate.” Read more...

More about Weather, Drones, Meteorology, Drone Delivery, and Business

These drones with Wi-Fi have X-ray vision

June 20, 2017 - 11:15am

Drones can now see through walls — sort of. 

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, just figured out how to use Wi-Fi signals and drones to create 3D maps of the inside of buildings.  The video above demonstrates their process, which is also detailed in a paper published online.

For the experiment the team used two drones. One sent Wi-Fi signals from one side of the structure, while the other picked up what was left of the signal (the received signal strength or RSSI) on the other side of the walls. The result is a pretty decent image of what's inside the building.

Instead of Superman and X-ray vision, we have drones and Wi-Fi. But like Superman, the drones might be able to take some 3D measurements of the inside of collapsed buildings and so on before emergency rescue arrives. Read more...

More about Tech, Tech, and Drones

Dubai's self-flying taxis are primed for takeoff later this year

June 19, 2017 - 8:59am

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France wants to put driverless 'drone trains' on tracks by 2023

June 16, 2017 - 2:04pm

France's state-run railway operator SNCF is working to develop driverless high-speed trains for its national rail system, effectively putting "drone trains" on the tracks.

The conductor-free TGVs (the French acronym for high speed trains) would bring self-driving tech to some of the fastest vehicles in the world, which regularly travel at speeds around 200 mph.  The trains are projected to hit the tracks in 2019 for prototype testing, according to a FranceInfo report, and will only transport cargo to start. The TGVs could take on passengers by 2023 for routes between Paris and southeast France.  Read more...

More about France, Trains, Autonomous Vehicles, Sncf, and Tech

What will Whole Foods of the future, powered by Amazon, look like?

June 16, 2017 - 9:41am

There's no greater hell than waiting in a long line at Whole Foods on a Saturday afternoon. Luckily, there could be some sweet relief coming soon. 

Alexa to the rescue? Maybe. Amazon announced on Friday its plans to acquire the grocery store chain in a deal valued at $13.7 billion.

So why in the world is America's biggest online retailer suddenly trying to get into the grocery industry?

SEE ALSO: Amazon buys Whole Foods(!) for $13.7 billion

Well, Amazon has been pushing to expand its footprint in the grocery business for quite some time. Even as many U.S. consumers are buying other goods like clothing and electronics online, groceries have been one of the last bastions of brick-and-mortar shopping.  Read more...

More about Amazon, Shopping, Drones, Ecommerce, and Whole Foods

Drones with defibrillators could save lives before the ambulance arrives

June 14, 2017 - 12:13pm

In the perhaps not-so-distant future, drones could be first responders.

That's the conclusion from a report published Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) following a simulated study involving drones carrying defibrillators in Sweden.

SEE ALSO: Scientists are creating drones that fly in sync with each other

Researchers for the study equipped an eight-rotor drone from the Swedish Transportation Agency with a GPS system, a camera and a defibrillator for several out-of-sight test flights in October 2016. 

Their aim: to find out if life-saving equipment like the defibrillator could be dispatched to a person in cardiac arrest outside a hospital more quickly with a drone than with a traditional emergency response unit. They made some hopeful discoveries. Read more...

More about Tech, Science, and Drones

This little robot is like a Roomba for your garden

June 14, 2017 - 8:15am

The 'Tertill' by Franklin Robotics is an autonomous robot that takes care of those pesky weeds growing in your garden. It's solar-powered and waterproof, so you can leave it outside without worry.

It uses technology similar to the Roomba, with added sensors that detect the difference between garden plants, which it avoids, and weeds, which it shreds with a trimmer. Read more...

More about Tech, Technology, Robots, Robot, and Solar Energy

Scientists are creating drones that fly in sync with each other

June 10, 2017 - 11:00am

Engineers at University of Pennsylvania are developing drones called ‘SWARM’ that can autonomously coordinate with each other using infared cameras around the room. Read more...

More about Science, Robots, Mashable Video, Drones, and Robot

Engineers genetically modified a dragonfly to carry a tiny solar-powered backpack

June 6, 2017 - 7:12am

Researchers at Charles Stark Draper Laboratory and Howard Hughes Medical Institute have created a tiny insect drone.

A dragonfly was genetically modified so that that it can be piloted remotely through pulses in its nerve cord. It carries a small backpack with electronics and a solar panel that powers it.

But this isn't the first animal cyborg.

More about Animals, Drones, Surveillance, Innovation, and Research

DJI's Spark drone is tiny and fast, but will leave you wanting more

June 2, 2017 - 9:11am

DJI’s Spark drone is an exquisitely-built, incredibly easy-to-fly drone, but 16 minutes of flight time is not enough, especially when the reality is more like 10 to 12 minutes. 

There are still so many things to love about DJI’s tiny, selfie-snapping drone. The Spark is the first drone I can effectively control with my hand. It’s also fast, nimble, responsive, intelligent and has a very good camera. 

But I struggled to fully test it because the flight time was so short. Having more than one battery is a necessity for this drone.

SEE ALSO: Capture perfect Insta-worthy underwater selfies with this bionic fish Read more...

More about Reviews, Drones, Selfies, Dji, and Spark

How drones are helping to plant trees

June 1, 2017 - 6:38pm

Droneseed is a Seattle-based startup that envisions a future where technology is solving our planet’s deforestation problems. Read more...

More about Startup, Technology, Drones, Coors Light, and Coors Light

The tiny cyborg dragonfly drones have taken flight

June 1, 2017 - 2:07pm

The tiniest drones we've ever seen have lift off. 

Draper Labs, an independent biomedical solutions lab, first unveiled its DragonflEye concept back in January

The project aimed to create the smallest drone possible by doing more than just taking inspiration from the animal kingdom — Draper's engineers literally outfitted an actual dragonfly with drone tech, putting a suite of next-gen navigation, synthetic biology, and neurotechnology systems on its back in the form of mini "backpack," which is powered by a built-in solar cell.

When the project was first announced earlier this year, there was no actual footage or even images of the drones  — just a to-scale model of a dragonfly toting the backpack. That was six months ago — and now, the Draper team has made some impressive new progress.  Read more...

More about Drones, Cyborg, Dragonfly, and Tech

Apple Swift Playgrounds can now program your robots and drones

June 1, 2017 - 1:35pm

Apple doesn't build robots or drones, but now you can use its software to program them.

On Thursday, Apple announced that, starting June 5, its increasingly popular iPad-based programming app, Swift Playgrounds, can be used to program robots built with LEGO Mindstorms EV3. Version 1.5 of the app will also handle programming tasks for Sphero's SPRK robot ball, Parrot's Mambo, Airborne and Rolling Spider drones, as well as robots from UBTECH, Dash, and Skoog. All devices will connect to the iPad and Swift Playgrounds via a Bluetooth connection.

SEE ALSO: Apple launches App Development Curriculum for college Read more...

More about Apple, Robots, Drones, Lego, and Swift

Doughnut-delivering drone is the future of high-tech snacking

June 1, 2017 - 11:38am

Forget birds and planes, a doughnut-toting drone is probably the most impressive thing you'll ever see in the sky.

On Wednesday, The Associated Press reported that doughnuts were literally delivered by drone to the mayor, police office, and fire departments in Denver, Colorado. Oh. No big deal.

Denver's LaMar’s Donuts teamed up with Drone Dispatch — from Austin, Texas — to make this hungry tech-lover's dream become a reality and give the world a glimpse into the future of drone delivery.

SEE ALSO: Drone owners will now have to register with the government in China

The drones delivered four boxes of LaMar’s doughnuts to honor a tradition dating back to World War I when Salvation Army volunteers made doughnuts for soldiers. And what better way to celebrate National Doughnut Day on June 2 than with doughnuts flying through the sky? Read more...

More about Tech, Conversations, Drones, Doughnuts, and Delivery

Amazon's delivery drone system is getting parachutes for your packages

May 31, 2017 - 12:23pm

It's no secret that Amazon's been pursuing the delivery-by-drone method for a while now, but now we have a better idea about the next step in the evolution of that plan thanks to a new patent the mega-company received. 

SEE ALSO: Drones that pass packages to each other could be the future of home delivery

As flagged by GeekWire, Amazon has received a patent for a shipping label with a parachute built in, intended for "packages to be dropped from the aerial vehicle, yet land at the package's destination without damage." 

Amazon's nifty package parachute

Amazon's nifty package parachute

Image: US Patent/trademark office

The parachute would be built in as part of the shipping label but done so using a harness or other method that keeps the cords of the parachute from getting tangled, screwing up the parachute, and sending your latest Precious Moments figurine purchase crashing to the ground. Read more...

More about Amazon, Drone Delivery, Business, Drones, and Big Tech Companies

Capture perfect Insta-worthy underwater selfies with this bionic fish

May 31, 2017 - 7:46am

Biki is a fish-shaped underwater drone that captures crisp photos and 4K video while streaming the picture to a device wirelessly. Read more...

More about Video, Photography, Technology, Drones, and Robot

Drone riding soccer official skates on air to deliver game ball

May 28, 2017 - 7:18pm

New rule: From now on, all sporting events must begin with an official bringing the game ball to the referee via the magic of drone-style hoverboard vehicles. 

That can be the only conclusion after watching the absolutely insane demonstration recorded at the Portuguese Cup Final on Sunday, which started with a man riding on air, Green Goblin style, and landing delicately in front of a ref to deliver the game's soccer ball. 

It was flawless. It was weird. It was what every sports event with a ball should have from this very moment on.  Read more...

More about Sports, Soccer, Drones, Hoverboard, and Entertainment