Feeds

Boffins showcase do-it-yourself flying spy drone

Aerial surveillance on the cheap

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

French engineering students have designed a do-it-yourself unmanned aerial vehicle that can provide high-resolution, geo-referenced surveillance images in real time.

At the Defcon hacking conference in Las Vegas earlier this month, Antoine Gademer and Corentin Chéron, two of the students from l'Ecole Supérieure d'Informatique Electronique Automatique in Paris, demonstrated a slimmed-down version of their low-cost spying quadrotor. To the amusement of many, the 27-inch UAV flew high above a parking lot adjacent to the Riviera Hotel as it used its bird's eye view to shoot video of unwary passersby below.

The vessel is controlled in real time by remote control and can rise more than 250 feet in the air. It weighs about 3.5 pounds and can carry a payload of about 2.2 pounds. Toting a digital camera that was modified to make it lighter and more responsive, the vehicle cost about €5,000 to build. That includes the quadrotor, batteries, the remote-control transmitter, camera, and a ground station to communicate with the UAV.

A video of what your reporter saw is below.

Back in Paris, the engineering team has a more advanced version of its improvised spy vehicle. It sports three cameras whose orientation can be remotely controlled to shoot 12 megapixel geo-referenced images. That allows people on the ground to see three points of view that can be blended into a mosaic image if desired. Video streaming beams the images back to the ground as they're being taken. In all, the students have spent about €17,000 on the project.

No doubt, aerial spy drones are nothing new. But as the demo shows, they're quickly coming within the reach of geeks and hackers everywhere. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot brain surgery a total success
LOHAN slips into some sexy bespoke mission parameters
Another step forward for diamond-based quantum computers
Square cut or pear-shaped, these qubits don't lose their shape
LOHAN acquires aircraft arboreal avoidance algorithm acronyms
Is that an ARMADILLO in your PANTS or are you just pleased to see me?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.