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Apple Drones? {concept}

Apple Drones? {concept}

Can you imagine? The company that is responsible for delivering the most innovate smartphone ever getting into the drone business? There are already rumors swirling that they are getting in the car business after stealing some Tesla employees. If any company is going to make one, why not Apple? They have the most resources to put to good use. 

With this in mind, a gentleman called Eric Huismann decided to work on creating a concept for what could only be called the iDrone – or Apple Drone. Designed in such a way that it would be unmistakably Apple, the drone features telltale clean white lines and plenty of technology to boot.

Beyond the way it looks – and it does look gorgeous – the Apple Drone concept features no fewer than four video cameras all capable of working together to create one giant, panoramic view that could be used to stream video to something like YouTube. This view would also make navigation a doddle via a separate controller, according to its designer.

Of course, all of this is largely irrelevant because this is a concept that has come completely out of left field. As far as we know there has been no rumor of Apple working on its own drone, and if we are perfectly honest, we see no reason for it to consider it either. Regardless though, this Apple Drone concept looks lovely and we have no doubt plenty would buy one.

Just don’t start planning to line up outside any Apple Stores just yet.

(Source: quadrocopter.org & Redmond Pie)

The Drones Are Coming...

The Drones Are Coming...

As consumer drones begin to gain momentum and popularity, the 2015 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) was held this week in Las Vegas showcasing some of the new and  exciting advances in modern UAV technology. The drones are coming and they range in many different shapes and sizes from heavy-lift, professional-cinematography drones to wrist-wearing, selfie-taking quads. Continue reading to see some of the drones in action at CES 2015.

CES 2015: Welcome to the drone zoo

By: Lance Ulanoff, Mashable

LAS VEGAS — Drones: They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are palm sized, while others would cover your dining room table. They all share some key attributes, like four rotors, an array of sensors and, usually, cameras for shooting the ground below and even the occasional drone selfie.

And at CES 2015, they’re pretty much all caged. Outside the show floor, drones fly freely, but deep in the far reaches of the South Hall’s lower level, they’re clustered together in the sexily-named “Unmanned Systems” zone. If the drones are flying, unless they’re very, very small, they’re behind fully enclosed nets or even glass enclosures.

They’re also attracting quite a crowd. Showgoers clustered around the drone demonstrations. Even when the drones weren’t flying, CES attendees were trying to get close to them. Considering how new the market is, that’s not necessarily surprising, but there is a buzz (pun intended) around this nascent robotics industry. Most of the companies I talked to had entered the consumer drone market in just the last few years.

The Consumer Electronics Association puts the global market for consumer drones at $130 million this year and anticipates a $1 billion drone industry by the end of this decade.

Even though the drone market is quite new, most of the products I saw at CES 2015 looked fairly polished. This is in stark contrast to just a few years ago when every drone I saw looked like it was built from Erector set parts.

The Hubsan FPV X4 Pro in its flying cage.

Image: Mashable, Lance Ulanoff

Hubsan’s X4 Pro is a good example. It has the clean lines of a Frog Designs product. But looks are deceiving. Hubsan CEO Sam Lee told me his company was originally in the hobbyist helicopter market, but ultimately found they were too hard to build (and too complicated to fly for consumers). His drones, on the other hand, are easier to assemble, but more difficult to design, and, especially program. Hubsan exited the hobbyist helicopter market in 2012 and now sells a full line of drones that range in price from $50 to $300, though pricing for the powerful X4 Pro has not been set.

Stunt drone

Hubsan's tiny FPV X4 can fly free

Image: Mashable, LanceUlanoff

All the drones on display can fly, hover and have some kind of remote control, but they also each have their own gimmick or extra bit of technology that sets them apart. In the case of the X4, it’s 4G-capable. Lee told me he can use his phone in China to control an X4 in the U.S, I tried to explain to him that this was not exactly a comforting concept, but Lee, who spoke halting English, didn’t get the joke.

There were also a surprising number of drones that could follow you. Again, this sounds creepy, but actually has some utility.

Trace.com’s Flyr1, for example, can follow any standardized pattern. First you train it on one pattern, maybe a logo on the back of your shirt, then set the angle of flight and how far away from you want it to fly from you and then it can track you and stream video of your activities to your mobile device for 35-to-40 minutes of battery life.

Trace Flyr1 uses a special vision system to track patterns.

Image: Mashable, Lance Ulanoff

Company spokesperson Josh Stanbury told me the drone was invented, in part, by Paul Beard (father of, among other things, the DVR) and that it could be useful for athletes who are training. He also thinks that this purpose sets Flyr1 apart from the rest of the Drones at CES.

“A lot of drones here are for people who just want to fly them. We’re here for people who want to create content,” said Stanbury.

It’s a subtle knock on the enthusiast craze that’s driving the creation of all these new drones and companies. People talk all the time about wanting drones, but what, exactly, will they do with them?

Even when they do get them, many consumers can’t seem to find something constructive to do with their drones. There are regular reports of people flying their drones too close to buildings, monuments and, especially, airports.

Image: Mashable, Lance Ulanoff

I asked Hubsan’s Lee about this concern. His drones are designed to not stray too far from the controller devices – they stay within a 45 kilometer circle, which is actually quite far. However, Lee assured me that his drones would use their GPS to recognize that an airport is approaching and automatically slow down and even land before they get into the wrong airspace.

When I asked if he was concerned about additional FAA regulations shutting him down, he sidestepped and said that “This product, we delayed for one year because of a safety issue.” In other words, he considered public safety a priority.

See me, film me

Airdog drone follows its leader's wrist.

Image: Mashable, Lance Ulanoff

Following their owners is a bit of a drone trend. Like Trace, Airdog, which just exited Kickstarter and will go on sale in the second quarter for $1,300, can follow you. However, instead of using pattern recognition, Airdog, which can fold up and fit in your backpack, uses a special wristband to track your location and position. Wherever that wristband is, it will follow and capture HD video of your activities.

Torquing Group's Zano drone can operate in swarms and help you take drone selfies.

Image: Lance Ulanoff

The tiny Zano drone ($270) from Torquing Group takes following a bit further. It can lock in on you, hold still in mid-air and take a selfie. They promote it as the drone that’s “Taking selfies to new heights.”

“It’s really just a tag line,” said Torquing Marketing Director Reece Crowther. In fact, Zano is one of the more intelligent drones on display and has a hardcore military background.

Torquing actually started as a military technology company in Australia and then the UK. Nearly two years ago, they decided to take all that knowledge and apply it to consumer drones.

Zano includes GPS, sonar, infrared and barometric sensors. In addition to autonomous flight, Zano drones can fly in a swarm, meaning that multiple Zano can be controlled via one device and work together.

Like Trace.com’s Stanbury, Crowther is somewhat dismissive of the hobbyist movement.

“What sets us apart [from the other drones] is that they’re hobbyist and enthusiast drones. Zano is for everyman (and woman).”

Ehang Ghost Drone

Image: Mashable, Lance Ulanoff

Not every Drone has a built-in camera. Ehang’s sleek-looking Ghost drones sells for $375 or $599 with the optional gimbal that holds a, naturally, GoPro camera. It’s a mid-sized drone that uses an iOS app for control. Similar to Parrot’s Bebop Drone (also exhibiting), it has one-button lift-off. You simply select a destination on the map and either set a route or let Ghost, which has a range of 1,000 meters, make its way there.

As I looked at all the drones flying in their cages, I thought of a zoo. These autonomous vehicles are like those exotic species we ogle though glass, behind heavy bars and across protective moats. They’re powerful, sleek and still a bit unknowable.

Read more great articles from CES 2015 at http://mashable.com

Parma Theater demolition photos

Parma Theater demolition photos

The 78 Year old Parma Theater has been demolished. The theater closed its doors in September of 2012. A few weeks later, on November 16, a fire caused $750,000 damage to the lobby and offices. The theater had a "For Sale" sign on it for 2 years. Parma Mayor Tim DeGetter said that it's been two years since the theater closed and the owners have not found a buyer for the property. "If there had been developers who wanted to do something with the theater, they would have come forward," DeGeeter said.   It is truly an end of an era for he historic movie theater. 

Efforts by the Friends of Parma Theater organization to save the building and find a buyer for the theater and two adjoining storefronts are now in the eleventh hour.

Kathy Mabin, a member of the Friends of Parma Theater, lives in the neighborhood and has shared the group's dream of saving the theater for future generations.

"The building itself is a landmark on Ridge Road leading into the heart of the city," Mabin said. "The Friends of Parma Theater group has a vision to repurpose the structure into a multi-cultural arts center.

"It's a proven fact that the arts are catalysts for redevelopment, as is evidenced by areas like Gordon Square, Tremont and St. Clair/Superior. A multi-use facility at the Parma Theater would increase property values, attract new families and would offer an alternative form of entertainment for residents."

Click to Play Video below

The 78 Year old Parma Theater has been demolished. The theater closed its doors in September of 2012. A few weeks later, on November 16, a fire caused $750,000 damage to the lobby and offices. The theater had a "For Sale" sign on it for 2 years.

"The end of an era"