Drone detecting device creates massive business for inventors

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A startup out of the UC Innovators program, Acorn Robotics aims to put simple, powerful, and beautiful robotics into people’s hands.


Drones are undoubtedly one of the fastest growing trends in 2014. Photographers love them, hobbyists spend hours and hundreds of dollars on them, and the military has a notorious reputation for habitually using them.

There are also people who have reasons to be concerned about drones. A recent article in Stuff.co.nz documented one hobbyist’s concern with how easily available the miniature UAV’s are.

“While a Blade drone is mostly plastic,” Fairfax reports, “its danger comes from its lithium polymer batteries, which are prone to catching fire and exploding. It would be worse than a bird in a jet engine.”

Others are more concerned about their privacy. These silent, super powerful machines available to civilians can travel to heights of 1,200 metres while equipped with HD video cameras.

Last year, Tina Turner’s wedding was covertly photographed by drones operated by paparazzi, and several politicians have had similar privacy intrusions in which drones were instrumental.

A new basement-run company called Drone Shield launched a Indeigogo campaign last June to raise funds required for a prototype. Drone Shield is a portable black box that listens for drones in the air, and alerts its owner if one is flying nearby. The device can analyse sound patterns, differentiating between drones and normal machines like leaf blowers, cars, and lawnmowers. The listening devices and component series are so sensitive that they can pick up inaudible noise patterns made by commercial and civilian drones, but can not yet detect military-grade UAV’s.

“The current model is not sensitive enough to detect military-grade drones, but with some improvements and more sensitive microphones, a professional-grade is definitely a possibility,” PSFK reports.

“We’re envisioning installing one of our devices every place you have a security camera,” Brian Hearing, the co-inventor of Drone Shield, told PSFK.

The company started out as Brian Hearing and John Franklin manufacturing the Drone Shield out of their basement, and they are now preparing for large-scale production. With 130 devices sold in 12 countries, Brian says that all that needs to happen now is for a celebrity to get one, and everyone will begin placing orders.


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