NPR : News

Filed Under:

Drone It To Me, Baby

Spies used them first, then the Air Force, then cops, then mischievous civilians; Drones, for some reason, are what gawkers use to gawk. They're spy accessories. But not only spy accessories. Thanks to Jasper van Loenen, drones are about to expand their repertoire. The word "drone" is about to become a verb, as in "Drone it to me"...

For his graduation thesis at Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam, Jasper, a young artist/designer came up with a handy-dandy, easy-to-use assembly kit that lets you send small objects through the air to a nearby recipient — a sort of UPS of the sky.

I don't want to ruin this before you see it, but if you know somebody across campus who needs a telephone, a keyboard, a spare bicycle wheel, a surfboard, and you don't want to get out of bed and walk it over, with Jasper's kit all you have to do is open your window and do this ...

"I like programming," Jasper writes on his homepage. "I'm interested in taking stuff away from the computer screen and finding ways to look at and interact with information." Since it is already possible, he says, to download an open-source gun, generate your own currency – why not a do-it-yourself drone? Why not, he writes, "claim your piece of sky?"

Postscript

Well, I know one reason why. Because videos are not like real life. If I tried something like this, a propeller would fall off, the plugs wouldn't work, the cargo would slip, dangle and crash to earth — something, different things, but always something would go wrong. Jasper knows this, too. Snooping around on his Vimeo site, I found a video of one of his earlier attempts to get a drone into the air. (That's what it looks like, anyway.) It's labeled "Quad in the Snow," because that's where he ends up, upside down ... in the snow:

But over the months, he apparently got better, and so, I suppose, might I. The real question here is how much room is there in our sky for all the ideas now being contemplated? Spybots, toybots, little moving vans, not to mention whatever Jasper and his pals think up next. Crows, sparrows and tree perching birds (not to mention trees) can't go to court, but if they could, they'd be asking some judge: "Come on! You guys can't hog all the space. A little respect, please! We all need to share."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Barbershop: UofL Basketball Ban, Football Concussions And The NFL Women's Summit

ESPN contributor Kevin Blackistone, Bloomberg View's Kavitha Davidson and The Washington Post's Wesley Lowery talk about the UofL basketball team, public opinion of the NFL, and women in sports.
NPR

After Introducing Changes, Keurig Sales Continue To Fall

Despite America's high coffee consumption, Keurig reported disappointing sales this week. Even during its popular holiday selling period, the numbers haven't perked up in recent years.
NPR

WATCH: Republican Presidential Debate

After skipping the last GOP debate and coming second in Iowa, Donald Trump will be center stage once again Saturday night.
NPR

How Limited Internet Access Can Subtract From Kids' Education

Smartphones are often credited with helping bridge the "digital divide" between people who do and don't have Internet access at home. But is mobile Internet enough for a family with a kid in school?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.