Last week, at SXSW, creative tech studio Chaotic Moon demonstrated CUPID, a drone equipped with an stun gun that can incapacitate people with an 80,000 volt shock. The brave intern used as a guinea pig can no doubt testify to its effectiveness. The studio says the exercise was aimed at raising awareness of the extent to which technology is outpacing our ability to regulate and live with it.

Speaking to Gizmag, William Hurley, chief innovation officer at Chaotic Moon, said that it's important to get people thinking about the social impact of tech developments like CUPID. "Just because we can do it, doesn't mean we should," contends Hurley. "CUPID itself is only a demonstration to start a dialogue on the future of drone tech. We can do more with it today than people think is possible."

Hurley points out that drone technology is not inherently good or bad and that there are plenty of positive applications for UAVs, such as search and rescue or delivery. The point is that we need to understand the potential impacts and consequences for society.

CUPID (an acronym for “chaotic unmanned personal intercept drone") took a part-time team around 2-3 weeks to build. Chris Boyles of Chaotic Moon explains that, although the project did take some time, it was not especially difficult. "Some of the biggest challenges came from modifying the drone for our demos," he explains. "We had to make sure we could safely demonstrate it in an enclosed space. That meant overriding the drone's abilities to fly autonomously – instead, one of our employees had to learn how to fly it."

Boyles also explains that the team had to modify the charge on the stun gun to lower its voltage and decrease the stun length. Even still, CUPID still packs a serious punch and, with this in mind, he points out that the decision was made very early on not to release any technical details of the drone. "This is the complete opposite of our usual behavior, which is to open source projects like these," he says.

According to Boyles, and rather unsurprisingly, the project has generated a great deal of interest. The reaction has generally been positive and one of enthusiasm for the technology. The biggest negative reaction, he says, has been from people who think CUPID will be made commercially available. "That couldn't be farther from the truth," Boyles says. "Your neighbor won't be getting his hands on one of these."

The video below shows CUPID in action.

Source: Chaotic Moon