Notes from BBC Click March 23rd 2019

Click looks at the latest anti-drone tech from the Netherlands, Google’s move into online gaming, and making coding accessible for children with vision impairment. 

Controlling unlawful use of drones.

Last years disruption at Gatwick was reported to have cost £50m. So how do you take down problem drones safely?

DroneClash 2019 Champions

A compétition set in the Netherlands sponsored by the police. Click interviews Mark Webes Invitations Manager at the Dutch National Police. He was hoping to see new strategies for downing drones but he also saw new threats. Drones encased in balls are less vulnerable to nets and other tactics for interfering with their rotor blades.

Bart Remes on of the Co-organisers of DroneClash 2019 shows off one of the microdrones. He invites the public to try and hack them while they are flying around the event.

Three years ago the Dutch police introduced trained eagles to down drones. The programme ended a year later as the birds could not be called on fast enough or down them cleanly enough.

Bart Van Maarle Captain Team Speeddrones is shown fixing drones which have been downed or damaged in the contest.

Stefaan Joos, SEO JBT Security, in a normal environment when you jam the frequencies used by a drone it will start hovering, or go back to its operator or drop when the battery fails.

Sjors Van OS, Development Engineer at Delft Dynamics, talks about how their radar system is used to line up the drone and then fires a net over the drone and then causes it to drop on a parachute.

This gun fires a powerful EMF (Electro Magnetic Field) pulse at the drone overpowering its control and command systems. It’s illegal in Europe, probably because logically if it works on a drone it could also seriously damage anything else that’s based on microelectronics such as cars and planes. The makers claim it’s selling well in other parts of the world.

Andrew Scheer, Marking Director at Metis Aerospace talks about the Electromagnetic Spectrum Tracking technology drone detection systems now being deployed at British airports. By having two base stations they are able to triangulate on the position of a drone.

Notes from the week in tech

Stage Coach were shown trailing a full size driverless bus.

Google unveiled their new gaming platform Stadia at the Game Developers Conference. (GDC)

Google being fined £1.82bn by the EU for blocking rival search engines.

MySpace announced they had lost 12 years worth of audio and video files during a server migration project.

GoGap from NVidea was shown transforming rough sketches into natural scenes in realtime.

Google Stadia

Phil Harrison, Head of Stadia at Google talks about how they have designed the new games platform so that it doesn’t have any lag. They can deliver up to 4K, at 60 frames per second, with HDR and surround sound to players devices, depending on their available bandwidth. He says that with the advances they are making with compression algorithms they can increase the quality without necassarily needing to increase bandwidth.

Google hasn’t explained the business model yet but most people expect it to operate like a Netflix for video games. They are expected to announce the launch date and pricing at the E3 Games Conference in June.

Coding for Blind and visually impaired children

This is Code Jumper a physical, tactile coding language developed by Microsoft. It’s a block-based module system consisting of a series of pods that contain a single line of code.

This was developed by Cecily Morrison who works as a researcher at Microsoft Research in Cambridge.

Children typically start learning programming these days at age 7 with block based languages like Scratch. This system is good for all children at this stage in their development not just those with visual impairment.

Apple are also working to extend access to visually impaired people to their Swift Playgrounds development environment.

Robin Spinks, Principal Manager Digtal Accessibility at RNIB, talks about how brail instructions and the accessibility features of the iOS are used together.

Medical Scanner Feature

The BodyO pod is designed to give you a full body medical in ten minutes without seeing a doctor or needing to make an appointment. Click spoke to Dave Boston the Business Development Director at BodyO. It’s a great way to encourage people to watch their weight and fight diabetes.

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