Temporary electronic tattoos could soon help people fly drones with only thought and talk seemingly telepathically without speech over smartphones, researchers say.
Commanding machines using the brain is no longer the stuff of science fiction. In recent years, brain implants have enabled people to control robotics using only their minds, raising the prospect that one day patients could overcome disabilities using bionic limbs or mechanical exoskeletons.
But brain implants are invasive technologies, probably of use only to people in medical need of them. Instead, electrical engineer Todd Coleman at the University of California at San Diego is devising noninvasive means of controlling machines via the mind, techniques virtually everyone might be able to use.
On Jan. 15, 2012, the Kenya Revenue Authority intercepted a 20-foot container holding more than two tons of ivory. Officials estimated that the contraband teeth, worth around $1.15 million, came from a shocking 250 elephants.
Unfortunately, this was no isolated incident; it was just another of the illegal harvests of African elephants and rhinos that have been on a dramatic rise despite a ban on the ivory trade that dates back to 1989. The increase, officials say, is the result of heightened demand in some markets.
“The price of ivory and rhino horn continues to rise by the day, leading to increased poaching of elephants and rhinos,” said William Kiprono, director of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), during a January press conference.
A KWS report released earlier this month found that Kenyan authorities knew of 384 elephants and 29 rhinos killed by poachers in 2012 compared to 289 elephants and 25 rhinos killed in 2011. Across Africa, reports suggest that more than 1,000 elephants and 1,000 rhinos were killed last year alone.
A Florida software developer and his children have built a quadrotor drone out of LEGO blocks that is capable of fully automated flight.
“One day I was on a field and crashed my GAUI [hobbyist quadrotor maker],” creator Ed Scott, Sr., told sUAS News. “One arm was completely broken off. I went home and that night I remembered my son using LEGO Digital Designer, so I thought maybe my sons and I could make a quad and use the motors from the GAUI. If we could automate it we could make the worlds first flying LEGO drone.”
Here’s the video of the Scott family’s creation.
Top Image: Screen capture from Scott’s Youtube video.