Black Is the New Black with AR Drone Refresh

Is your AR Drone not stealthy enough? Parrot's got a new Power Edition you might be interested in

1 min read
Black Is the New Black with AR Drone Refresh

Parrot's latest AR Drone upgrade, the Power Edition, features a new piano black hull, up to 36 minutes of flight time, and some swanky new prop colors. Plus, watch an AR Drone reenact the exploits of Darius the Great and Xerxes at the Bosphorus.

We have to stress (since it's presented in a slightly confusing manner in Parrot's PR) that the "36 minutes of flight time" is the total flight time that you get using both high-capacity batteries, if you land the drone and switch a spent battery for a fresh one. The drone does not carry both batteries at once, and besides the color, there is no fundamental difference in the hardware. But hey, looking good is the most important thing, and since the batteries will run you 60 bucks by themselves, $370 for the whole package (including four sets of props) isn't a bad deal.

Meanwhile, Parrot has been busy playing with the AR Drone's Flight Recorder GPS autopilot system using an open source software package called QgroundControl. With this, they've managed to get the drone to autonomously fly all the way from Europe to Asia, a distance of, well, just over a kilometer, but still:

If you think you can do better, Parrot's got an online contest looking for the most daring drone pilots to record their exploits using the drone's GPS recorder. Up for grabs are a pair of Parrot's Zik headphones (they're awesome, trust me) and a Wi-Fi extender for long-distance drone shenanigans. The contest is open until September 16; check out the rules below.

[ AR Drone Power Edition ]

[ GPS Flight Recorder Contest ]

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

Keep Reading ↓Show less