Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Coolest of the Cool - New Japanese Ball Drone

Just when we mastered our AR.Drone - playing games and taking pictures and videos of our flights - along comes a new Japanese entry: a spherical reconnaissance scout - with a single engine and eight movable "wings." The drone can do 40 mph and is a lot of fun to boot.

Over 1 million people have watched this video thus far.  It's an amusing Japanese newscast but needs no translation to see the capabilities of this new drone... speed and flexibility in particular. It bounces and rolls off of objects it hits or falls onto.

Built by Japan's Ministry of Defense, it is presently being refitted for autonomous operation and to carry video and still cameras. The commercial version - for security applications - is intended to sell for less than $1,000.  The consumer version will be redesigned to enable an acceptable consumer price point similar to the Parrot AR.Drone.