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Invisible drone

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  • Joe (uk-ufo) McGonagle
    Source: New Scienist http://www.newscientisttech.com/article/dn10202 12:11 02 October 2006 NewScientist.com news service Barry Fox Invisible drone Can a
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 2, 2006
      Source: New Scienist


      12:11 02 October 2006
      NewScientist.com news service
      Barry Fox

      Invisible drone

      Can a surveillance drone be made virtually invisible? VeraTech,
      based in Minnesota, US, thinks so. And patent applications filed
      by the company explain how.

      "Persistence of vision" turns the fast-moving rotors of any
      helicopter into a near-transparent blur, while the slow-moving
      body looks solid. Inventor Michael Dammar has come up with a way
      of making the whole body of an aircraft spin as it flies, turning
      it into a single blur in the sky. This would not evade radar but
      should help the aircraft avoid visual identification.

      The so-called Phantom Sentinel aircraft is Y-shaped, consisting
      of a single long wing attached to two short aerodynamic
      extensions which each end in a propeller. And the weight is
      carefully balanced so that the centre of mass is positioned
      between the two extensions. When the motors are running, the
      solid part of the aircraft spins around this centre of mass, and
      the longer wing generates lift. The whole thing moves so fast
      that persistence of vision turns it into a single blur.

      Making the plane sky blue, or largely transparent, should help
      conceal it further, Dammar claims. He adds that a camera can be
      placed near the centre of mass and used to build a panoramic
      picture of the ground below, after software processing.

      The company’s website has streaming video footage of early
      prototypes in flight.

      Read the full invisible drone patent application.
      Hot-foot computing

      The idea of wearable computing is appealing. A head-mounted
      display can show information processed by a small portable
      computer while speech-recognition software can replace keyboard
      typing. But how do you move a cursor without a holding a mouse?

      Simply move those feet, say three researchers working for Hewlett
      Packard in the UK. A magnetic sensor can be attached to one foot
      and a transmitter emitting pulsed magnetic signals clipped onto
      the other one. As the sensor foot is moved around it continually
      calculates its position relative to the other foot, using these
      magnetic pulses.

      So, moving each foot can correspond to movements of a cursor on
      the head-mounted display. Foot-twisting can be used for right or
      left mouse clicks and sliding one foot over the ground can be
      translated into dragging and dropping. This would allow someone
      to use a wearable computer while keeping their hands free for
      other tasks.

      Read the full hot-foot computing patent application.
      Self-healing cables

      Threading a cable through the chassis of a car, boat or plane can
      be tricky. Sharp metal edges can cut the cable insulation,
      shorting power and even starting a fire.

      Researchers at the University of Vermont, US, have been working
      with NASA on a type of cable insulation that heals itself when
      breached. The healed section also adds a protective layer against
      further damage in future.

      The central live wire within the cable is surrounded by a layer
      of insulation laced with a soft resin. Glue hardener is also
      sealed inside microcapsules that are dispersed within the
      insulation layer.

      Under normal circumstances the microcapsules keep the hardener
      away from the resin, so the cable remains soft and easy to
      thread. But if the cable insulation is chafed or breached, the
      microcapsules break open to release the hardener. This heals the
      insulation and adds a solid section that should prevent further
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