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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk

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Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics


It's a Bird... It’s a Plane... It’s a Drone Justin Risedorf

Drones are becoming big players in the toy sector, especially as toys are no longer just for young children. LEGO bricks have long been a favorite toy of the young and old, and a company called Brickdrones is now offering kits with the parts necessary to build your very own operational drone from LEGOs. 

A basic LEGO drone kit comes with the necessary LEGO bricks, motor mounts, and a GoPro camera mount. A flight controller, motors, glue, battery, and some other items will still need to be bought. However, Brickdrones LEGO kits come with full assembly instructions as well as a list of recommended parts to get you well on your way to building your dream drone.

Moving from drones for fun: in Houston, Texas drones are being used to help solve the city’s huge stray dog problem. There are estimated to be roughly 1 Million stray dogs and drones are being put to the test to help. The cooperation between volunteers with GPS technology who will work on the ground and drones that will circle a sector in the air will make it much easier to count the number of strays.

In addition to stray dogs, a Chilean company is in the works to use drones for patrolling beaches and helping to save human lives. The drones are being fitted with a float, camera, speaker and microphone. The hope is to give lifeguards another tool to rescue swimmers who find themselves in trouble.

Obvious to most, drones are having an enormous impact on the military sector as well. Drone strikes seem to be the current administration’s weapon of choice in the United States. The reasons are simple. Unmanned aircrafts (drones) provide an extremely accurate way of striking against enemies with little to no risk for personnel. Drones can be controlled from bases that are thousands of miles from the targets.

Currently, the U.S. Navy is developing a drone that can operate in the air and underwater, and will be used to fight against submarines. The drone is the work of the Naval Research Laboratory in SW Washington, DC. 

While the technology is still evolving, drones are being designed to help with surveillance even over vast stretches of ocean. These drones need to be capable of covering wide swaths of the ocean in windy and stormy conditions for up to 24 hours without needing to refuel. These drones will be fitted with infrared, high-resolution cameras, and other sensors to help scan the sea.

Many believe drones will become an essential tool for the types of Coast Guard search-and-rescue missions that happen routinely. There are some real advantages that the unmanned system has for many of these roles that require long endurance to search wide areas. Human pilots are simply not able to stay up for 24 hours at a time. A drone can figuratively step in and pick up the slack.

Whether in commercial, leisure, municipal, or military sectors, drones are poised to become part of our lives in one capacity or another. Sooner rather than later, we may begin to see drones buzzing over our heads on a regular basis.



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Justin is a contributing author who loves to read and write about the advancements of technology and robotics. When not at work, you can find him conquering Risk and Catan or on an adventure with his wife and kids. Last Father's Day he received a #1 dad shirt, so now that's official.


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