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Skyteboard drone aims to bring neighbors closer together

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June 11, 2014

The Skyteboard drone is designed to integrate with the Fatdoor social network to bring com...

The Skyteboard drone is designed to integrate with the Fatdoor social network to bring communities closer together

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When we have unmanned aerial vehicles zipping about delivering school textbooks and burritos, drones that bring neighborhoods closer together doesn't sound like the most radical idea. But combining them with a social network could have impacts beyond enabling more efficient shipping services, at least in the eyes of software and robotics company Fatdoor. This week it launched a crowdfunding campaign for Skyteboard, an internet-connected quadcopter designed to take community spirit to the next level.

For all the opportunities aerial drones might bring, bridging the gap between people already living in close proximity might not be the first that springs to mind. Nevertheless, so enthusiastic is Fatdoor CEO Raj Abhyanker about the potential for drones to foster neighborly love, he and his team have developed functioning prototypes and are looking to set those rotors in motion.

Skyteboard features built-in GPS, Wi-Fi and 3G, a full HD camera and a 1 lb (450 g) payload, enabling it to carry a second camera or deliver sugar to the sweet-toothed homebody one street over. Technical details on charging and battery life are scarce, but the company says it is aiming to achieve a 15 minute flight time.

Users can control their Skyteboard by logging into the Fatdoor network on their iOS or Android devices.The social platform is geared toward enabling neighbors to connect and collaborate, whether it be renting out a room in their house or trying to track down a lost kitten.

Once they take flight, the company sees the drones flying in formation to film local soccer matches from various angles and stream to spectators' devices, carrying banners promoting that Sunday's barbecue and delivering packages to nearby friends. Users will also be able to share flight paths and video with others over the Fatdoor network.

Much like Amazon's Prime Air announcement last year, the concept raises questions regarding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulation and the use of unmanned aerial drones for commercial purposes. While technology has a habit of finding unforeseen applications, we're not sure how this example will play out in the real world. Can you see Skyteboards taking flight in your neighborhood anytime soon, or will the idea of a social networking aerial drone struggle to get off the ground? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Through the Kickstarter campaign, a pledge of US$1,099 will put you in line for a Skyteboard, with shipping estimated for November 2014 if all goes to plan.

You can hear from the team behind Skyteboard in the video below.

Source: Fatdoor

About the Author
Nick Lavars Nick was born outside of Melbourne, Australia, with a general curiosity that has drawn him to some distant (and very cold) places. Somewhere between enduring a winter in the Canadian Rockies and trekking through Chilean Patagonia, he graduated from university and pursued a career in journalism. He now writes for Gizmag, excited by tech and all forms of innovation, Melbourne's bizarre weather and curried egg sandwiches.   All articles by Nick Lavars
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7 Comments

It will give the nosey neighbours another tool to pry into other people's business with, I suppose. So people will live in dread of hearing the damn thing hovering nearby, especially if they've forgotten to close the curtains. I can't see that being very popular. And as for covering football matches with a 15 flight time, that was a joke, right?

If one ever comes near me, I am sure that I would treat it as a mobile target for my air rifle, or it might be fun to see if I could fry the optics with a hacked laser. Yes, on second thoughts let's have them; they could be fun, while they last.

Mel Tisdale
12th June, 2014 @ 04:21 am PDT

I am all for tinkering with UAVs and stuff, just because it is great fun, a challenge to make it work properly, and also quite educative.

Given the masses of buzzing things to be expected hovering all around us in the near future, though, I am now considering setting up my own Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for an Anti-Drone-Drone. It will probably hit the target very quickly.

martinkopplow
12th June, 2014 @ 08:05 am PDT

No, No, NO!!!

I was at a backyard party on a sunny Sunday afternoon in San Francisco. Many other people in the block, and in the city for that matter, had the same idea and were enjoying the day for private yard activities.

Suddenly, we heard an obnoxious sound-- something like when you put playing cards on your bike to hit the spokes of your tires and make it sound lie a Harley, come flying over us from the hillside above. It was a home-drone being activated by some tech thugs a few backyards up the hill.

Within seconds, that contraption-- even in a tech savvy city like San Francisco-- was making people so angry so fast that I expected to hear a gun shot from somewhere on the hill above us to take the thing out completely.

There is nothing "socially conscious" about this promotion. It is about trying to find a commercial market for a bad idea, at any cost. It is invasive. It is obnoxious. If ever anything needed tight regulation, it is this thing.

It may have good uses, but "connecting a neighborhood" is not one of them. I can envision it dividing a neighborhood far faster than bringing it together.

Don't fall for this-- at least the marketing approach these guys are taking-- as something for the good of us all. Whether you believe in the practice or not, the most efficient use of these devices right now seems to be fighting wars-- and I will leave that for your own judgment. Conversion to a peace time, peace making device to bring us all together is a big, long stretch and needs far more thought than these guys are putting into it.

Better go dream up another misdirected campaign to get your product off the ground, no pun intended.

spgray
12th June, 2014 @ 09:05 am PDT

The only "connecting with the neighbors" that I am interested in is connecting homeboys with the cops pursuing them. This morning from 4:25am until about 5:00am I helped direct cops chasing some junior though my backyard on the way to the next major thoroughfare. Drones would be handy for this task just as they were in Afghanistan. Sadly, there are no available air assets like Hellfire or small diameter missiles. We must make do with aerial pursuit, for the time being.

StWils
12th June, 2014 @ 10:17 am PDT

Disclosure: I have been associated with a small UAV start-up for several years. But while I think some uses of UAVs can be a good idea, this is not one of them. Oil pipeline surveillance, agricultural field surveys, fire and police services in emergencies, yes. Neighborhood use, no. Fostering “neighborly love”, not bloody likely. In fact, I expect the opposite result from any such usage, and would happily buy an anti-drone-drone if it should come to that (martinkopplow, you listening?). Until then, I have my pellet gun. :-{)

I am even willing to grant the possibility that the makers of Skyteboard may be sincere in their desire to “bring neighborhoods closer together” - but if so they are clearly on the wrong track. Better at robotics than at building a credible business case, obviously. And as for “aiming to achieve a 15 minute flight time”? YGBSM. If their surveillance vehicle can’t stay in the air at least an hour it should stay home.

techcommwiz
12th June, 2014 @ 06:46 pm PDT

@techcommwiz: Yes, I'm listening. Looks like Anti-Drone-Drones would make a reasonable business case, as well as keep neigborhoods partying in peace like it's meant to be.

martinkopplow
13th June, 2014 @ 06:32 am PDT

These (drones) have begun appearing in my neighborhood.

It took me about 2 seconds to realize the solution. I attached a laser pointer from my telescope to my home security camera system. I kept an eye out for the next drone (weekend hijinks usually) then went into my office, turned on the laser, tracked the drone with my security cam and blinded it until it crashed.

I realize this may seem a little elaborate but worked for me and was IMMENSELY satisfying.

One of my friends told me the guys in his neighborhood got out their fishing rods and casted at one till they hooked it and brought it down.

Pretty funny.

Joseph Boe
16th June, 2014 @ 08:48 am PDT
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