Kittyhawk releases white paper on UAS Remote ID

unsplash-logoSorry imKirk

The biggest problem with drones right now is accountability. There are a lot of good FAA-licensed and unlicensed pilots who follow the rules to the letter, and that’s fine. But for the use of commercial drones to expand while there are still people who break the law — knowingly or without knowing what they’re doing — there will need to be a way to keep drone pilots accountable. Kittyhawk today released a white paper that details how UAS Remote ID will work and why it should be implemented in US airspace. Continue reading “Kittyhawk releases white paper on UAS Remote ID”

Tangible Tech Episode 11: Where’s My Self-Driving Car?

Yep. There’s nothing quite like getting sunburned in your big-finned self-driving car while you play dominoes…

It’s been a while since the last episode of the Tangible Tech podcast, and we have a good one for you. A lot of us are fascinated by the idea of self-driving cars, and in this episode your host Steve Sande looks into the present and future of this technology. Steve’s crystal ball is pointing towards the late 2020s before we see a lot of self-driving cars on the roads around the world, but in this podcast we look at the 5 levels of automation and what they entail…and what it’s going to take to get to Level 5.

Thanks for listening to Tangible Tech, and we’d like to ask you to share this episode with friends.

A Beautiful Nebula is Disappearing

At left, Eta Carinae and the Homunculus Nebula as seen by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in 2000. At right, an artist conception of what the star and nebular will look like in 2032. Image via

Nebulae are the gas and dust clouds that are ejected by stellar eruptions and explosions, and generally have a certain beauty about them. Back in 1847, the star Eta Carinae ejected a nebula that was nicknamed the Homunculus. Since then astronomers have photographed the nebula not only for its beauty, but because it provides information about its parent star. Astronomers now believe that within ten years or so, the nebula will be difficult to observe.

What’s causing the nebula to disappear? Well, the Homunculus will still be there, but Eta Carinae — a star that is of a type called a Luminous Blue Variable — is getting brighter and it will be almost impossible to make out the nebula. By 2036, it’s expected that the star will be ten times brighter than the nebula.

Is the star itself becoming more luminous? Not really. A team of astronomers led by Brazilian Augusto Damineli believes that the dust cloud that makes up the nebula is dissipating as seen from our vantage point, making the star appear brighter.

For amateur astronomers, there’s never been a better time to try to capture the beauty of the Homunculus nebula. Soon, it will be impossible to see it.


GDU launches impressive SAGA industrial drone at CES

GDU SAGA light industrial UAV

You know me. I love me some drones. So when I received a PR blast today about the GDU SAGA industrial drone (AKA “light industrial UAV), I got pretty excited. This is not your run-of-the-mill photo drone; instead, it’s designed for:

  • Public security – search and rescue, border patrol inspection, fire fighting
  • Energy security – electric power inspection, oil and gas, equipment inspection
  • Infrastructure – transportation infrastructure, survey mining
  • Construction – real estate, construction site mapping, building inspection
  • Agriculture – crop monitoring

GDU does this through a series of snap-on payloads and a 1 kilogram (2.2 lb.) lifting capacity. The payloads include a gimbal for a DSLR, a 4K camera, an infrared camera for crop or power line inspection, 10X and 30X optical zoom cameras, a megaphone, a floodlight, a gas detector module, and a drop module.

The company makes a point of noting that this is a “military quality” drone; in fact, there are multiple press photos showing Chinese military folks using them. I was just impressed that the damned thing can fly in the rain:

GDU SAGA flying while being doused with water

Other specs:

Dimensions745X555X225mm (Unfolded)
273X224X107mm (Folded)
Maximum Take-off Weight3.4kg
Maximum Load1kg
Maximum Horizontal Flight Speed15m/s (Sport Mode, Sea Level/ No Wind)
Maximum Flight Altitude3500m
Maximum Tolerable Wind Speed10m/s
Maximum Flight Time39 minutes
Satellite Positioning ModuleGPS/GLONASS Dual Mode
Hover Accuracy (P-GPS)Vertical: ±0.5m (Downward vision system: ±0.1m)
Horizontal: ±1.5m (Downward vision system: ±0.3m)
IP Protection LevelIP43
Video Transmission and Control Distance10KM

I’m going to see if I can get a loaner for a review; it looks pretty impressive.

Abandoned California home becomes a massive camera (video)

We’re used to cameras getting smaller and smaller, but photographer Ian Ruhter had the opposite idea. For a project he was working on, Ruhter and his team took an abandoned house in Bombay Beach, California, sealed it up tightly so no light would leak in, and then mounted a big lens in one wall to project an image onto a 66 by 90 inch piece of glass. They used the camera to produce a portrait of a local 100-year-old resident who had recently become homeless.

Continue reading “Abandoned California home becomes a massive camera (video)”

Home Automation fans: Get thyself to IKEA

OK, this kind of straddles the line between my regular day gig at Apple World Today and Tangible Tech, but I though that this was worth mentioning to any TT readers who are also fans of home automation.

The big news? IKEA has added a $10 wireless control outlet (i.e., “smart outlet”) to its Trådfri home automation accessories. This is huge, since this type of smart outlet usually starts at about $25 and goes up from there. Continue reading “Home Automation fans: Get thyself to IKEA”