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Drones’ Image Problem

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think drones? Maybe it’s the recent White House incident or government spying or something else. Regardless, drones have a negative image that the United Arab Emirates is trying to improve by establishing a “Drones for Good” competition that rewards inventors for creating these devices to be used in positive ways.

“Gimball” is one invention is raising heads. This drone was developed by the Swiss company, Flyability, which won a $1 million prize at the competition. Gimball is encased in a carbon fiber shell, meaning that it can safely bump into people, walls, and other obstacles. Gimball can roll, fly, and bounce and  is equipped with cameras and sensors which allow it to be the eyes and ears for the human operator. Flyability is targeting the Gimball to enter disaster zones and find survivors.

Many other designs in the competition range from planting trees to acting as a life jacket to measuring water quality. Drones definitely have an image problem, which may change because the technology holds a lot of potential in changing our lives.

Written by Dimitri Vasilkov’15


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