Gathering Hurricane Data Using A Swarm Of Tiny Drones

University of Florida researchers have developed a six-inch-long, lightweight vehicle that can fly over, under, and through a hurricane while sending information in real time.

What's the Latest Development?

Kamran Mohseni and his team of researchers at the University of Florida's Institute for Networked Autonomous Systems have created a small sensor-equipped drone -- "just 6 inches long and about the weight of an iPod Nano" -- that can be launched in numbers from a remote location to collect real-time hurricane data from a variety of perspectives. The team uses mathematical models to determine the best place(s) to send the drones ahead of time, where they can then wait for the storm to arrive. Once it does, they are powered on so they can begin their fact-finding mission. "Our vehicles don't fight the hurricane; we use the hurricane to take us places," says Mohseni. 

What's the Big Idea?

Typically hurricane data is collected using free-falling sensors dropped from reconnaissance planes. Besides the fact of the sensors' spotty success, the planes are expensive to build and fly. At approximately $250 each, the drones are a much better buy, even if they are lost in a storm. Mohseni says, "We don't have anything that is super duper. We have cheap sensors, but with a lot of them you can significantly increase the accuracy of your measurements." He believes that with enough funding, the drones could be tested in a real-world scenario in about two to three years.

Photo Credit:

Read it at ScienceDaily

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

Dead – yes, dead – tardigrade found beneath Antarctica

A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.

(Goldstein Lab/Wkikpedia/Tigerspaws/Big Think)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
  • The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
  • Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less