For a suggested retail price of $49, you will be able to ensure every move you make is captured on video. The palm-sized camera MeCam under development at Always Innovating Inc. will follow you around and take videos of you and your friends. You will be able to post these videos to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or any other social media site.
Always Innovating calls the MeCam a "self-video minicopter" in the video below. The camera can be operated by voice command, or it can be programmed to hover around you automatically. It has two autopilot algorithms and a Morpho Inc. video stabilizer. You upload video by streaming it to a smartphone or tablet.
The palm-sized MeCam, based on open-source software, will follow you around and shoot video. (Source: Always Innovating)
Details about the hardware are sketchy. Always Innovating says on its website that the MeCam has 14 sensors and three stabilization algorithms, offers "one-click true panorama," and works without a remote. The company did not respond to our requests for interviews or information.
In a press release unveiling the device in January, Always Innovating says the MeCam is run by a Cortex-A9 SoC. This ARM-based, low-power processor comes with up to four cores. The release doesn't says how many cores the device uses, but it does say the SoC module runs at anywhere from 1.0GHz to 1.5GHz, depending on configuration. That's a lot faster than the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 CPU, a measly 468MHz ARM9. The Cortex-A9 SoC module also includes 1Gbyte of RAM, an SD card, Bluetooth, and both 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi.
But that's just the hardware. What really piqued my interest is the fact that the MeCam uses open-source Linux-based software. That seems a lot like the robot operating system we discussed in May. Always Innovating says on its webiste that it's not going to manufacture the MeCam. Instead, it is licensing "the device and its core module." If I were in robotics, I'd like to see what I could do with open-source software (especially a robot operating system) and a tiny quadricopter design platform. Of course, it depends on the licensing cost.
The working prototype is shown in the video. I've been a tech reporter since before the term vaporware was invented and I know why it was invented. I agree about non-response to the legitimate press, but as I said, that's not surprising these days. I think there are a couple of reasons, both leading to overload: The explosion of so-called media outlets online, where zillions of robots--uh, I mean people--rewrite press releases, or don't even bother to rewrite but just post them, and the explosion of people trying to make a fast buck by saying they have a product--and many of them do, since the internet has also led to a boom in self-employment. The upshot is that many of those companies that are legitimate are not PR-savvy in the professional sense and no longer know who the legitimate press are. So they just slap up a website and post a press release. But that's not enough--or even necessary but sufficient--to indicate a vaporware product.
"My reference to extreme weapons was purely hyupothetical to show how such arguments can lead to a reductio ad absurdum."
Um no. Your message was quit clear. Anybody who believes in creation is illogical, not scientific, speaks to fictitious characters, and at times behaves uncivilized.
My apologies to the people on this forum for allowing this to take this tangental path. My only intent was to show that the U.S. Constitution is a set of laws intended to limit the government; not laws to limit the people. This distinction I hold very dearly, and I can't tolerate language that distorts it.
<THE_J_ALLEN_PHILOSOPHY>Of course I can not tolerate the bad language, because like Pavlov's dog, and a chain reaction, everything I do is reactionary and caused from the big bang. Scientifically I have no free will. </THE_J_ALLEN_PHILOSOPHY>
While it is not my area of specialty, both special and general relativity show that time "before the Gig Bang" cannot be discussed in the same sense as "the day before yesterday." I suggest you do some reading on that.
The more important point, though, is this. Serious science goes back only a few centuries. There are still many unanswered questions. An honest scientist looks at a "mystery" and says, "We don't have an answer yet but we are actively seeking one." The alternative is to say, "We don't have an answer, so the phenomenon must be magical or supernatual. The former may or may not be fulfilled, but at least it has a chance (and a pretty good batting average of late). The latter is an intellectual dead end.
"Of course there are lunatics around, but please don't pile everyone into this same vessel. And please don't call gun owners un-civilized."
Thank you for your reply. I gues it was a bit of a stretch to persume that when people spend substantial money to obtain a piece of equipment (a tool, an instrument, or a gun) they are inclined to seek (and maybe promote) possible uses for their investment. My reference to extreme weapons was purely hyupothetical to show how such arguments can lead to a reductio ad absurdum.
As for the reference to "un-civilized" I in no way suggested that gun owners, as people, are such. I was stating the rather obvious -- that resloving a dispute by negotiation or legal process is generally more "civilized" than shooting his helicopter with a gun.
By the way, did you try simply asking the offending neigbor to stop?
What suddenly became clear is that this particular device is intended as a means to keep one's own actions in focus, sort of like a "video twitter" type of system. Now my question is "who cares?" Unlike the CIA and the FBI, I am really not that interested in watching every move that other folks make, except that while I am driving I do pay more attention to the cars near me. But that is only to keep enough space and avoid any bumps.
So who is so interesting that others want to watch them constantly? Or is this really just for those folks with the ten foot tall egos? Just exactly what group is the intended users of this "amazing" piece of hardware? And does it even exist? even as a single prototype? Or is this an April first item a bit too far in advance?
Actually, I had posted before realizing that any garden hose with a good nozzle on the end will be the best candidate for anti-quadcopter defenses. Everyone will already have one of these in their backyards so no additional specialized devices are needed.
The rubber bands trailing a string will make it easier to score a hit, and I recommend aiming high so that the prop wash will drag the string down into the blades. So that could work. But maybe a small rubber ball with a streamer would work in the same way? Picking up a ball and throwing it is something that can be done quickly with good aim and plenty of range for the highest flying objects.
But, what will we do about the nighttime versions of these copters? What about quadcopters that can land on a treetop and remain on station for days using a solar panel to keep charging? There are other possibilities, and I've been wondering if the DIY community will begin developing passive radar using the radiation from cellphone towers and wifi networks to see these devices coming.
I don't think that it would take a vortex cannon to down one of the cute little obnoxious quadracopters. How about a rubber band shot from a finger?. Or to be much more effective, that same rubber band with two feet of thread tied to it? Ca the thing fly with only three props??? I agree that those blades could be an eye hazard, but also a hair hazard for a few of the people that I know. And that all is un-needed, because it would be a simple matter to add a perimeter ring around the ends of the blade segments, and make it a lot safer, similar to the blades on those really cheap toy helicopter toys.
The landscape of product development is changing. Electronic components and the devices that use them are shrinking, while power and functionality are rising. As a result, heat management is now in the forefront of the design process.
Ahead of their appearance at Design & Manufacturing Minneapolis, we look at some of the engineering behind two robots from the hit show, BattleBots, as well as some tried-and-true fighting tactics engineers should keep in mind when taking their own robots into battle.
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