Flying transplant kidneys by drone

Photo by Dr. J. Scalea, via University of Maryland Medical Center
Photo by Dr. J. Scalea, via University of Maryland Medical Center

When kidneys are harvested for transplant, they need to be immediately transported under strict temperature control to another hospital for implantation. Common issues like traffic jams or accidents can keep those kidneys from being used. Now a team led by Dr. Joseph Scalea of the University of Maryland Medical Center has done a trial flight of a kidney on a DJI M600 Pro drone to see if drones could be used to quickly fly kidneys and other organs between hospitals. Continue reading “Flying transplant kidneys by drone”

The flying surveyor: Civdrone speeds construction surveying

I started out my career as a civil engineer, and at the time I graduated (late 1970s), students had to take two semesters of surveying classes. For civil engineering projects, it’s often necessary to track how earth is being moved, and up until this time that’s required the labor-intensive work of land surveyors to measure elevations above or below a baseline (usually sea level) at precise points on the ground. An Israeli startup, Civdrone, wants to automate that process with a device that can be attached to commercially-available drones.

Civdrone’s device and software allow a drone to survey the land using its GPS system, then land and drive survey stakes into the soil without needing to send out a survey team. The survey stakes are marked with a QR code that can be read by the construction team, giving them data and instructions. (Video embedded below: if it doesn’t appear, reload the web page)

Civdrone co-founder Tom Yeshurun says that “A single drone and its operator can replace up to four teams a day,” and he added that drones can also work at night without good lighting. Many human land surveyors are sitting in bars by that point…

Tangible Tech Podcast Episode 7: Drones 101, or “How do those things stay in the air?”

Tangible Tech podcaster Steve Sande is not only a science and tech guy, but he’s a licensed drone pilot. When he’s out flying, one of the common questions he gets from bystanders is “How the (#&$ do those things fly without having wings, a rudder, and that other stuff you see on airplanes?”

In this episode of the Tangible Tech podcast, Steve explains how quadcopters (those drones you see just about everywhere) are able not only to take off and land, but do some pretty amazing maneuvers as well.

Don’t worry; you won’t need a degree in aerospace engineering to understand what Steve’s saying, just an imagination and your hand… You’ll understand what I’m saying once you listen to the podcast. 😀

If you like the Tangible Tech podcast, won’t you consider supporting it by becoming a subscriber? Listen on and you’ll see a little purple “Support This Podcast” button which you can use to send a few bucks our way.

The FAA is tired of drone offenders, will step up enforcement of regulations ↗️

From Flying Magazine:

The FAA has had enough of drone operators who don’t seem smart enough to remain clear of locations where their aircraft might interfere with wildfire containment crews, law enforcement efforts, or other first responders, such as medical flights. The agency said last week that violators are now more likely to face serious civil penalties, even for first-time offenses.

Deterring interference with first responders is critical, particularly as drone use expands exponentially. Firefighting aircraft trying to contain a wildfire have to suspend flights when a drone enters the area to avoid a possible mid-air collision. A drone flying over a crime scene or accident site can hamper police or medical aircraft operations. Ultimately, interference by a drone can cost lives.

It’s about time. Just about every day we hear about another idiot who is flying a drone near an airport or getting in the way of first responders. Throw the book at ’em!

New electric drone features 2-hour flight time ↗️

From IEEE Spectrum:

A new electric drone from Impossible Aerospace can fly more than four times as long as other battery-powered drones, the company announced today, potentially bringing the world closer to fully electric passenger aircraft.

The new unmanned vehicle, dubbed the US-1, is a quadcopter that is “essentially just one big flying battery,” says Spencer Gore, founder and CEO of Sunnyvale, California-based Impossible Aerospace.

Considering most state-of-the-art prosumer drones are lucky to get 30 minutes of flight from a single charge, this is a very promising development.

Get a drone burger delivery while golfing at this North Dakota course ↗️

From CNN Tech:

Palmiscno has also heard from the neighboring softball complex, whose organizers are open to drone deliveries from his course’s restaurant. Palmiscno envisions athletes sitting around after a game, drinking beer, and having food dropped from a drone.

To prevent being hit by wayward balls, the drone flies at between 200 and 300 feet above the ground. It descends to 45 feet above the ground when lowering a delivery.

“If it goes well, this could be great,” Palmiscno said.

I could get into golfing again if they’d also add beer deliveries by drone…

Walmart looking at blockchain to connect automated delivery drones ↗️


Walmart’s recent patent efforts have showcased how the retail giant is investigating blockchain, and a new filing points to a focus on autonomous delivery drones.

The application was published on August 30, detailing a system by which “autonomous electronic devices” communicate with each other wirelessly and pass transported objects to each other after an identification process.

After one drone travels to a specific spot where another one is located, they exchange authentication signals using “blockchain keys,” and if the first robot successfully recognizes its “co-worker,” it passes it the package. Drones would rely on a database of delivery information stored on whichever blockchain the company is operating.

For all the negative press that Walmart seems to gather as the supposed gathering place of the unwashed dumb masses of the USA, the company actually is quite technically astute…except for not accepting Apple Pay…

Turkish Cypriot drug trafficker sends product to Greek side via drone ↗️

Via Cyprus Mail:

Police  in the north have arrested a Turkish Cypriot man in connection with a case involving the transfer of drugs from the south to the north by unmanned drone.

Kibris daily reported on Wednesday that the drug transfer took place on August 17. Drugs were loaded onto a drone, flown across the buffer zone and landed in an empty field in the north where they were collected by the suspect.

This is one more reason that good autonomous anti-drone systems need to be developed and deployed worldwide soon!

IBM files patent for coffee delivery drone ↗️

Via Popular Mechanics:

…the drone would be able to detect barometers of a person’s energy such as blood pressure, pupil dilation, and facial expressions, and then give them a caffeinated boost as a result. These metrics could be tracked through a Fitbit-style device or even a person’s digital calendar, noting when their appointments are during the day.

I love this idea, although filing for a patent is no indication that IBM is actually working on such a device. I’d love for my iMac to sense when I’m getting sleepy and have a drone deliver me a cup of hot, steaming java.