Drones capture first wintry wonderland weekend in the Midwest

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‘Tis the season for the first wave of snow.

Over the weekend, a good portion of the Midwest saw their first round of significant snowfall for the season, including parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Missouri. 

First snow in Chicago ❄️ pic.twitter.com/XQHa9MQZzF

— Panda (@Amanda_luv_u) December 5, 2016

Chicago’s first snow of the season set a record for Dec. 4 with over six inches, which was plenty enough for some NFL snow angels

Luckily, too, the age of drones gives us a captivating birdseye views of the winter wonderlands, like this one from Madison, Wisconsin, where just under six inches of snow fell on Sunday. Read more…

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These detailed, laser-blasting ‘Star Wars’ drones are pure badass

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Propel’s hand-painted and hand-sized Star Wars drones are more than just your average licensed toy.

The hand-sized drones, available in four designs (Millennium Falcon, X-Wing, TIE Fighter and 74-Z speeder bike), light up and shoot lasers just like in the movies. The latter isn’t just for show. Up to 12 drones can engage in aerial dogfights to recreate Star Wars‘ most epic space battles.

Ahead of its launch on Friday Dec. 2, Propel invited me to check them out in person and try my hand at flying for the Empire and Rebellion. Read more…

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Apple Maps may soon use drones to give you better directions

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In news that should make anyone who’s experienced an Apple Maps fail a little less angry, Bloomberg reports that unnamed sources say that Apple is taking steps to overhaul its Maps service.  

The report’s sources claim Apple is building a new team of robotics and data-collection experts with the directive to use drones to capture and update map information. Up to now, Maps data has been collected by a fleet of street-bound cars, so taking to the sky would immediately expand the effort. 

The drones would be especially helpful for up-to-the-minute road monitoring for accurate traffic information, an area where Apple Maps has lagged behind Google Maps. The data collected will be sent to Apple teams, which will be tasked with updating the app for the highest level of accuracy possible. According to Bloomberg‘s sources, at least one person from Amazon’s Prime Air division has been brought in for the work.  Read more…

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Incredible drone pilot weaves teeny tiny spaces for stunning beach video

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The beach looks even more beautiful when you’re looking at it through a bicycle wheel, no?

In the event you’ve never seen it that way, you might want to take a look at “Fresh Squeeze,” a technically stunning drone video by Robert McIntosh, the camera flits through the tiniest spaces, navigates sharp corners and avoids obstacles to capture some truly gorgeous footage of Venice Beach.

According to LAist, the project was filmed on a GoPro Hero 4, which was stripped down to help it fit through small enclosures, then attached to a micro quadcopter. 

The footage was also stabilized using ReelSteady from Adobe AfterEffects. Read more…

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GoPro is coming to terms with reality: It’s just a camera company

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GoPro is coming to terms with reality. Despite its best efforts, it’s just a camera company. 

The 14-year-old camera manufacturer is cutting costs by laying off more than 200 employees (about 15 percent of its workforce) and instituting a hiring freeze, the company announced Wednesday. The reductions are in an effort to restore the struggling business to profitability come 2017. 

GoPro will focus on its products: cameras and drones. “Consumer demand for GoPro is solid and we’ve sharply narrowed our focus to concentrate on our core business,” GoPro CEO Nick Woodman said in a statement. “We are headed into 2017 with a powerful global brand, our best ever products, and a clear road map for restored growth and profitability in 2017.” Read more…

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Here’s the anti-drone gun of your Rambo fantasies

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The Australian-listed company DroneShield has given the internet a closer look at its new portable anti-drone gun or “tactical drone jammer.” If you want to look like a real “Dude” as you knock pesky drones out of the sky, this is it.

Designed as a countermeasure against drones flying where they shouldn’t, the DroneGun claims it won’t smash the unmanned aircraft to the ground. Instead, according to the product’s brochure, it aims to implement a vertical landing or return the drone to its starting point.

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Drone footage shows recent clashes at #NoDAPL protest in Standing Rock

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New drone footage shot over the Thanksgiving holiday shows the continued clashes between protesters and police at Standing Rock.

Protesters comprised of Native Americans, environmentalists and their supporters have set up camp for the past few months in an effort to shut down the construction of a Dakota Access oil pipeline near Standing Rock Sioux Tribe lands.

There have been several incidents of fairly violent confrontation between protesters and law enforcement officials, and allegations of police brutality continue to spread.

Drones have become a way to document the protest, deemed #NoDAPL. Read more…

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Apple’s ‘spaceship’ campus looks like a futuristic, solar-powered fortress in new drone video

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A number of drone videos have captured the construction of the new UFO-style Apple Campus 2, but this latest video is the best look we’ve had yet. 

The new video, captured by YouTube user Sexton Videography, shows the Apple structures in their nearly completed form, with most of the walls and solar panels now in place. 

From the main circular structure, to the similarly flying saucer-like underground auditorium, to even the massive 20,000 car parking lot, it’s now clear that this solar-powered complex could easily double as a self-sustaining city and/or fortress when the zombie apocalypse arrives.  Read more…

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