Looking more UFO than UAV, the Japanese Defence Ministry has created a spherical surveillance drone which they have deemed the world’s first. Designed for use in urban areas, the menacing, all-black machine can fly up to 60km/h.
Weighing less than a pound, the AFP says the craft’s 17-inch shell was designed to protect it from bumps against walls and windows. Lead engineer Fumiyuki Sato says the flying ball has $US1400 worth of parts, all of which he pulled from store shelves.
The latest model, the seventh prototype, is equipped with a single propeller, shielded by the shell, with flaps and wings to control its flight, and can zip through the air at up to 60 kilometres (37 miles) per hour.
Sato said all its components can be found in shops in Tokyo’s electronic tech-geek heaven of Akihabara, at 100-yen shops where every item sells for about a dollar, or on the Internet.
The only bummer is that craft can’t be controlled using its camera. It’s flight controls are still so sensitive that anyone operating the thing has to be able to see it. Still though, it’s good enough to prey on the paranoia of conspiracy theorists for lulz. [AFP via Physorg]