Amazon’s delivery drones could drop packages with parachutes

Amazon’s much-anticipated (and long time coming) drone deliveries might technically finally be happening, but a new patent spotted by CNN suggests your next book or box-set might actually arrive via parachute. There are many practical, legal and technical challenges that drone deliveries present — and getting the parcel on the ground is just one of them.

So far, deliveries have been carried out in relatively controlled locations where a drone can land to release its cargo. A safe landing isn’t possible everywhere, not to mention other environmental hazards such as humans, pets and other obstacles. Also, this is Amazon, where efficiency is king.

According to CNN, the patent proposes that Amazon’s drones could complete deliveries by releasing the package from the air. The drone would watch from above, and attempt to adjust the package’s descent with either a parachute, a burst of compressed air and other such mechanisms.

The first official delivery happened in Cambridge, UK in a location far away from the densely populated urban centers that most of us live in. If Amazon hopes to make drone deliveries a meaningful part of its distribution — and a recent Super Bowl ad suggests it does — then city-friendly solutions are essential.

Books and games floating down from the sky isn’t even the weirdest idea Amazon’s had for its drone deliveries. Another patent that surfaced at the end of last year described floating warehouses (think "blimp" motherships) that act as hubs that the relatively short-range drones would deploy from. Of course, a patent is just an idea on paper, and no real indication of intent to create.

Right now, Amazon’s being beaten at the drone delivery game by unexpected airspace rival 7-Eleven, which has reportedly completed almost 100 aerial deliveries. Then, of course, there’s the ever-changing red tape that comes with drones being used autonomously and for commercial use. But at least we can be sure Amazon’s working to stamp each of those issues out.

Via: The Verge

Source: CNN

from Engadget

India Is Poised to Set a New Space Record Tomorrow

Tomorrow, a four-stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle will blast off from India’s southern spaceport with 104 satellites on board. Should all go well, the Indian Space Research Organization will establish a new satellite delivery record for a single mission—and by a long shot.

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from Gizmodo

Father And Son Team Demonstrate Their Homemade Trombone Rifle

This is a short video of Youtuber CAPTAINQUINN and his son demonstrating the Assault Trombone they built out of a trombone, rifle stock, and a weed sprayer. It blasts trombone noise whenever the trigger is pulled. And by trombone noise I mean it sounds like a classmate blasting a fart against the hard plastic seat of a school desk. The amount of reverb you can get on those things is incredible, and I blame Daniel ‘O-Ring’ O’Neil in 4th period Social Studies for my partial hearing loss and subsequent depression. Hit the jump for the video.

Thanks to hairless, who agrees they need to hook that thing up to an air compressor and really let it rip.

from Geekologie – Gadgets, Gizmos, and Awesome

Fukushima reactor’s radiation levels killed a cleaning robot

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) wasn’t kidding when it said the radiation levels inside Fukushima’s nuclear reactor are the highest they’ve been since its meltdown in 2011. It had to pull out the robot it sent in to find the exact location of melted uranium fuel and to do preliminary cleanup inside the reactor, because it died shortly after it started its mission. Apparently, two of the machine’s cameras suddenly became wonky, darkened and developed a lot of noise after merely two hours of scraping debris away. Those are all signs of extremely high radiation levels.

Tepco believes the robot endured approximately 650 Sieverts of radiation per hour if it only lasted a couple of hours. If it were a human in there, he would have died instantly. The team decided to pull the robot back when its cameras went dark before losing it completely.

Since the machine wasn’t able to complete its mission of doing recon and cleanup for Tepco’s second robot, the follow-up machine will have a lot more to do. That is, if the team even decides to deploy it — officials said they have to study the outcome further before deciding. The good news is that even though the radiation levels inside the reactor are extremely deadly, the team didn’t find any leaks that could pose a risk to anyone outside.

Source: AP

from Engadget