Chris Anderson’s Expanding Drone Empire

At the former Wired editor’s start-up, 3D Robotics, open-source robots take to the skies

10 min read
Chris Anderson’s Expanding Drone Empire
Fly, My Pretties: Chris Anderson (center) and his merry band of dronemasters test multicopters near San Francisco Bay.
Photo: Chris Mueller

Friday is Fly Day at 3D Robotics, a maker of small robotic aircraft. So here we are, on a windswept, grassy landfill with a spectacular view of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, looking up at a six-prop copter with a gleaming metal frame. It’s like a spiffy toy from the future. Buzzing like a swarm of bees, it lifts off smartly, hovers, then pinwheels.

“Jason’s making the hex twirl,” says CEO Chris Anderson, a trim man in jeans and an untucked oxford shirt. “That’s just for show—a human pilot couldn’t do that.” That’s because Jason, the flight tester, did nothing more than figuratively push a button. The hexarotor—technically, the 3DR Y-6—is on autopilot, which it demonstrates by zooming off on a preprogrammed route. The Y-6 sells for US $619. That’s a lot for a toy, but it’s chicken feed for a capital investment.

Keep reading... Show less

Stay ahead of the latest trends in technology. Become an IEEE member.

This article is for IEEE members only. Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Damaged Hearts Next in Line for Powerful mRNA Therapies

COVID-19 vaccine technology now points toward repairing ravages of heart attacks

3 min read
Light and dark pink sections of a microscopic view of heart tissue

Light micrograph of a section through the endocardium, the membrane that lines the heart (across top), following a heart attack. Necrotic (dead) muscle fibres (across bottom) have stained a deeper red, but their nuclei no longer stain.

CNRI/Science Source

The messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccines, including ones made by Moderna and Pfizer, notched some famous successes and pioneered the use of mRNA technology along the way. Now, scientists are applying testing similar technologies as treatments for a variety of conditions, including heart injury. New research presented in April at the Frontiers in CardioVascular Biomedicine 2022 conference shows that mRNA can help heart cells regenerate after being damaged from a heart attack—and has the potential to be an effective therapy. Other recent research treating cardiac injury using similar approaches has also shown promise. Should these treatments be effective in people, they would be among the first to heal damage after a heart attack, which current treatments for heart attack don't really do.

“A real solution is not provided to the patient,” said Dr. Maria Clara Labonia, a medical doctor and Ph.D student at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands who is the lead author of the study. “So many aims are towards new therapeutic strategies.”

Keep Reading ↓ Show less

Video Friday: Drone in a Cage

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read
A drone inside of a protective geometric cage flies through a dark rain

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

ICRA 2022: 23 May–27 May 2022, PHILADELPHIA
IEEE ARSO 2022: 28 May–30 May 2022, LONG BEACH, CALIF.
RSS 2022: 21 June–1 July 2022, NEW YORK CITY
ERF 2022: 28 June–30 June 2022, ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
RoboCup 2022: 11 July–17 July 2022, BANGKOK
IEEE CASE 2022: 20 August–24 August 2022, MEXICO CITY
CLAWAR 2022: 12 September–14 September 2022, AZORES, PORTUGAL

Enjoy today’s videos!

Keep Reading ↓ Show less

Take the Lead on Satellite Design Using Digital Engineering

Learn how to accelerate your satellite design process and reduce risk and costs with model-based engineering methods

1 min read
Keysight
Keysight

Win the race to design and deploy satellite technologies and systems. Learn how new digital engineering techniques can accelerate development and reduce your risk and costs. Download this free whitepaper now!

Our white paper covers:

Keep Reading ↓ Show less