Drones are good – a roundup of articles from 22-28 January 2017

Drone by hjorleifur at Pixabay. Image in public domain, CC0.


In this week’s roundup of good news about drones, Beckham catches a ball, a question and answer session with an attorney who specialises in cases involving drones, a political statement and LEGO. Yes, LEGO.


First up is the news that New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham won the inaugural Drone Drop event in Orlando. The New York Daily News[1] states that in the final round, Beckham caught the ball which was dropped by a drone from 125 feet up. During practice for the ProBowl, video footage shows the American footballer athletically catching the ball and then executing a backward roll as the force of his lunge took him off his feet.


Drone use is now so widespread in farming that Agriculture.com offers a question and answer session with ‘drone attorney’ Jamie Nafziger[2]. The article, originally from Successful Farming magazine, sees Ms Nafziger answer four questions related to the complex laws surrounding the use of unmanned aerial vehicles and the footage obtained by their onboard cameras.


Meanwhile Stuff New Zealand[3] reports on the New Zealand miniquad championships, a precision flying event for small drones which sees competitors flying their craft around a prearranged course in first person view. They navigate with the use of video goggles and a remote control joystick. This is a brand new sport, such that television video coverage can interfere with the signals required to fly the drones.


There is a video interview with some of the competitors, punctuated by the unmistakable high-pitched whine of the drone engines. These days hobbyists can get into drone flying for around $1,000 but several of those being interviewed are already way beyond that level, with day jobs as engineers or in the aeronautics industry.


Political statement of the week must come from KATSU, a drone graffiti artist. New Atlas (via Motherboard) carries an article about his latest project. Using a modified DJI quadcopter, he has let his political feelings be known loud and clear[4]. Drone art began in 2013 with random splashes of paint on canvas, wall or billboard, and has now progressed to the point where it is possible to use a drone to paint letters on a wall in true graffiti tag style.


Finally for this week, The Verge’s Circuit Breaker article about LEGO drones[5]. Startup Kitables already has a $69 full sized LEGO drone, and the company is now looking to introduce a smaller drone designed to appeal to youngsters. Backers can get their hands on a kit for a $50 pledge. I can’t help but wonder if they’ll be in LEGO stores soon. There is further information in a promotional video on The Verge’s website for those who would like more information.


Next up – bad drones. They’ve flown into things, flown away from operators and been held responsible for killing people in war zones.




  1. nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/giants-receiver-odell-beckham-wins-pro-bowl-drone-drop-event-article-1.2956920; Giants receiver Odell Beckham wins Pro Bowl’s drone drop event; NY Daily News; Nicholas Parco; 26 January 2017
  2. agriculture.com/news/technology/qa-drone-attorney-jamie-nafziger; Q&A: Drone Attorney Jamie Nafziger; Agriculture.com; Laurie Bedord; 23 January 2017
  3. stuff.co.nz/technology/gadgets/88719224/How-to-crash-a-drone-at-150kmh; How to crash a drone at 150kmh video; Stuff.co New Zealand; Adam Dudding; 25 January 2017
  4. newatlas.com/drone-graffiti-precision-trump-tag/47506/; Drone graffiti artist demonstrates new precision with anti-Trump tag; New Atlas; Rich Haridy; 23 January 2017
  5. theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2017/1/25/14390076/kitables-mini-lego-drones-diy; Kitables wants to build even smaller Lego drone; DIY Lego drone kits for the kids… and the nostalgic adults; Micah Singleton; 25 January 2017

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