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Tiny claws let drones perch like birds and bats – TechCrunch

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Drones are useful in countless ways, but that usefulness is often limited by the time they can stay in the air. Shouldn’t drones be able to take a load off too? With these special claws attached, they can perch or hang with ease, conserving battery power and vastly extending their flight time.

The claws, created by a highly multinational team of researchers I’ll list at the end, are inspired by birds and bats. The team noted that many flying animals have specially adapted feet or claws suited to attaching the creature to its favored surface. Sometimes they sit, sometimes they hang, sometimes they just kind of lean on it and don’t have to flap as hard.

As the researchers write:

In all of these cases, some suitably shaped part of the animal’s foot interacts with a structure in the environment and facilitates that less lift needs to be generated or that power flight can be completely suspended. Our goal is to use the same concept, which is commonly referred to as “perching,” for UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles].

“Perching,” you say? Go on…

We designed a modularized and actuated landing gear framework for rotary-wing UAVs consisting of an actuated gripper module and a set of contact modules that are mounted on the gripper’s fingers.

This modularization substantially increased the range of possible structures that can be exploited for perching and resting as compared with avian-inspired grippers.

Instead of trying to build one complex mechanism, like a pair of articulating feet, the team gave the drones a set of specially shaped 3D-printed static modules and one big gripper.

The drone surveys its surroundings using lidar or some other depth-aware sensor. This lets it characterize surfaces nearby and match those to a library of examples that it knows it can rest on.

Squared-off edges like those on the top right can be rested on as in A, while a pole can be balanced on as in B.

If the drone sees and needs to rest on a pole, it can grab it from above. If it’s a horizontal bar, it can grip it and hang below, flipping up again when necessary. If it’s a ledge, it can use a little cutout to steady itself against the corner, letting it shut off or all its motors. These modules can easily be swapped out or modified depending on the mission.

I have to say the whole thing actually seems to work remarkably well for a prototype. The hard part appears to be the recognition of useful surfaces and the precise positioning required to land on them properly. But it’s useful enough — in professional and military applications especially, one suspects — that it seems likely to be a common feature in a few years.

The paper describing this system was published in the journal Science Robotics. I don’t want to leave anyone out, so it’s by: Kaiyu Hang, Ximin Lyu, Haoran Song, Johannes A. Stork , Aaron M. Dollar, Danica Kragic and Fu Zhang, from Yale, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the University of Hong Kong, and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

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Motorola Moto X30 Pro Will Have An Unusual Camera System

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This is just the tip of the iceberg for the Moto X30 Pro. The strangest thing about the model won’t be its unusually large camera sensor, especially since Xiaomi already claimed that crown. Instead, it will be the use of three focal lengths in the camera system that could mean the removal of one traditional part of that group.

Motorola’s Weibo account revealed that the Moto X30 Pro will have a 35mm focal point at its widest. This will be joined by a 50mm telephoto that could have a 2x magnification, as well as an 80mm longer telephoto option. If this is an accurate description, it would suggest that the phone will ditch the ultra-wide shooter in favor of two telephoto cameras when some of its peers opt to eschew telephoto cameras to make way for a macro alternative.

Whether this will give the Moto X30 Pro an actual advantage over other high-end phones this year remains to be seen, literally. It sounds almost like a mixed bag, at least in the camera department, though the rest of the rumored specs are on par for a 2022 flagship. The Moto X30 Pro, which could go by the name Motorola Frontier in global markets, is expected to run on a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, bear a 6.67-inch 144Hz OLED screen, and boast 125W super-fast charging for its modest 4,500mAh battery.

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2023 Mercedes-AMG EQE First Drive: Electrified Luxury Gets A Sports Upgrade

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AMG promises performance magic, upgrading the EQE EV sedan with supercar-rivaling power to go with a lavish, tech-filled cabin. Can it deliver soul with speed?

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How To Fix Amazon Prime Video Not Streaming In 4K

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Not all Amazon Prime Video titles are available in 4K quality. Older movies and shows often do not support that format, and even some newer flicks will still be unavailable for a variety of reasons ranging from licensing to technical difficulties. As a result, your title of choice might look less-than-perfect, not due to a fault on Amazon’s end, but simply because that title may not support 4K in the first place. 

Amazon has a list of titles available in 4K, so checking whether the one you’re trying to watch is, is fairly easy. You can see all the 4K offerings by heading over to the official Amazon website. The list is not very intuitive in the sense that you can’t check for specifics within the results as this is already a narrowed-down list. However, you can also simply type in the title of your movie or show into the search bar above to check whether it’s available on Prime Video and in 4K.

You can also search directly on Amazon Prime Video. Any variation of “4K,” “4K movies ultra HD,” “4K film,” or even something more specific like “4K romantic comedies” should produce a list of titles that you can watch right now. If you managed to locate your title on one of these lists and yet it still looks underwhelming, there may be other issues at hand.

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