A 3D Printed Aerial Drone

Drones come in many shapes and sizes, but now they can also be 3d printed! To make these drones, the [Decode] group used a selective laser sintering process which is pretty interesting in itself. Once the printing process is done, these little planes are built with only five structural and aerodynamic components. Because of their simplicity, these drones can reportedly be assembled and ready to fly with no tools in only ten minutes!

This design was done by the [Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council] at the University of Southampton in the UK by a group of students. Besides this particular plane, they concentrate their efforts on building autonomous drones under 20 Kilograms. Using a 3D sintering process with this design allowed them to make this plane how they wanted, regardless of the ease of machining the parts.

This group has several videos of their planes on their website to download, but check after the break for an embedded video of the [Newscientist] piece about their project. [Read more...]

WASP UAV gets some new toys, now intercepts your phone calls too

wasp_drone

If you had the pleasure of attending last year’s DEFCON conference, you are no doubt familiar with [Mike Tassey] and [Richard Perkins]. There, the pair showed off a work in progress DIY aerial drone named WASP. Short for Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform, WASP was impressive when we brought it to your attention last year, but the duo has spent some time completing their project, adding a few extra features in the process.

The drone still packs the same pico-ITX computer which now runs Backtrack5, and utilizes a 340 million word dictionary for cracking WiFi networks (pardon the pun) on the fly. While updated pen testing tools are well and good, the most impressive update is that the drone can now act as a standalone GSM tower. This allows the pair to trick nearby phones into routing calls through WASP before being relayed to their carrier’s network.

Once WASP is launched, the plane flies autonomously along a preset route, sniffing, hacking, cracking and gathering data until [Tassey and Perkins] summon it back to Earth. The drone is as impressive as it is scary, and we can’t wait to hear what the pair has to say about it this time around.

Continue reading to watch a video demo of WASP taking to the skies and doing its thing.

[via PopSci]

[Thanks, DainBramage1991]

[Read more...]

Spherical military drone coming to a sky near you

spherical_drone

We’re always fascinated by flying drones around here, and this latest creation by Japan’s Ministry of Defense is no exception. The spherical drone, which looks far simpler than this drone we saw several months back, looks pretty benign at first glance. Once it starts moving however, you can see just how slick it is.

Reports say that it can hit a top speed of 40 mph, but it seems that the fun is relatively short-lived, as the drone runs out of juice after about 8 minutes. While it is flying, the drone appears to be incredibly agile and fairly easy to control. The built-in camera isn’t top end, but it looks more than sufficient for general surveillance use.

While we love quadrocopters and all of the cool acrobatics they pull off, there’s something awesome about a drone that can hit the ground at speed, roll, and take off again without incurring any serious damage.

Anyone care to start work on a civilian prototype with a longer battery life?

Quadcopter pair plays table tennis without the table

This pair of quad-rotor helicopters does a better job of keeping a ping-pong ball in the air than we could. The two flying drones are performing inside of the flying machine arena, a 1000 cubic meter indoor space surrounded by nets with a foam-padded floor. This makes for a prototype-friendly space, protecting the copters from hard landings and the experimenters from the maiming that might accompany a runaway robot.

This project is headed by researcher [Raffaello D'Andrea]. Previously, we’ve seen his work on a distributed flight array. This time around he’s not working with configurable modules, but completely separate units. Don’t miss the video after the break to see several iterations used to keep a ball in the air. Each bot has the head of a tennis racket mounted at its center. Throw a ball at them and they’ll to what they can to prevent it touching the ground.

While we’re on the topic, we caught a story on NPR about hobby drones. Sounds like their growing popularity has caught the attention of the non-hacker community and restrictions might be on the way. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and make your own flyer while it’s still the wild-west of personal drones.

[Read more...]

Drone cracks WiFi from on high

The WiFi Aerial Surveillance Platform, or WASP for short, is an autonomous drone aircraft that sniffs out WiFi networks. But it packs a much larger punch than that. Built into this US Army surplus target drone you’ll find an ITX form-factor computer with a Via C7 500 MHz processor that is running Backtrack 4, the popular penetration testing Linux suite. But what if you want to do some real heavy lifting that the onboard PC can’t handle quickly? They’ve thought of that too. There’s an integrated 3G modem which allows for control over the Internet and facilitates the outsourcing of load-intensive operations to the cloud. It’s not shooting fireworks from the wings, but this payload has the potential to cause way more trouble.

[Thanks Spore]

Tank drone with automatic targeting and tracking

Humankind is making some great advances toward our own destruction with this tank drone. It’s got a powerful set of treads with an Airsoft rifle perched atop. Thanks to the cameras and the laser this thing can accurately target based on color. The hardware is controlled by a collection of Arduino boards connected via XBee so that Processing can be used on a computer. Just combine this with the facial recognition from yesterday and you’ve got the first generation of Terminators. Watch the clip after the break and you’ll realize that we’re doomed. [Read more...]

CES: Parrot AR Drone update

Here’s a small update on the AR Drone from Parrot. We finally got this video uploaded. It isn’t anything fantastic, but you get a good view of the board on the bottom of the device. You can clearly see a tiny camera in the middle and what looks like sonar range finders toward the front of the drone.

As some commenters have stated, this looks like a more robust platform of the X-UFO. We haven’t seen the X-UFO, but the salesperson even mentioned it. Check out some flight video after the break. We’ve shot some flight video of our own that we’ll have up soon. [Read more...]