Tag Archives: consumer-tech

UK police given new powers to seize and search misbehaving drones


Keep those pesky drones away from the airport.
Image: Getty Images/EyeEm

Remember the enormous, pre-Christmas chaos those drone sightings caused at London’s Gatwick Airport last month?

The ones that put the whole airport on lockdown, delayed roughly 1,000 flights and prompted a lengthy police investigation?

Well, it looks like people have had enough of it. In a tweet on Tuesday morning, the UK government’s Department for Transport announced the introduction of new powers for police to seize and search suspicious drones, as well as new airport exclusion zones and safety measures.

You can read the full announcement, which comes following a 5000-people strong consultation, on the government’s website. They’ve summarised the key points as follows:

– police to be given additional powers to land, seize and search drones

– government to work on expanded use of technology to detect and repel drones in sites like airports and prisons

– exclusion zone extended around airports where drones are banned from flying

– from November 2019 drone operators will be required by law to register

“There is no question but that lessons have to be learned from what happened at Gatwick,” Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said in a statement on Monday. “Passengers have to be able to travel without fear of their trips being disrupted by malicious drone use.

“Airports must be prepared to deal with incidents of this type, and the police need the proper powers to deal with drone offences.”

Read more: https://mashable.com/article/drone-police-powers-uk/

Allegedly adorable surveillance bot Kuri to be discontinued


Always watching.
Image: Howard cao/Mayfield Robotics

Kuri just wanted to watch your children play. 

The roving surveillance bot, unveiled last year at CES, was billed as the first home robot that could actually catch on with consumers around the country. What with its unassuming — even “cute” — design and ability to autonomously decide to film people and pets in your home, Kuri represented a stark departure from the blind robo-murder dogs we have all grown to regard with caution. 

Alas, nothing gold can stay: Mayfield Robotics, Kuri’s manufacturer and part of the Bosch Startup Platform, announced today that things weren’t looking so hot for the 14-pound robot. 

“Sadly, our Kuri manufacturing will cease, and the Kuri robots that have been made will not ship to customers,” the manufacturer said in a company press release. “All pre-order deposits will be refunded to our customers.”

This is a shocking turnabout for Kuri, which was initially hailed by a prominent tech blog as possibly one day “[replacing] your little brother as the cutest member of your family.” 

So what went wrong? Are people just not interested in having a camera equipped, four-microphone stocked, mini robot following them around their homes, recording their every move?

Goodbye.

Image: MAYFIELD ROBOTICS

Definitely not, insists Mayfield Robotics. You see, it’s not that people prefer jogging death-bots, it’s that there was a problem with, uh, “business fit.” Yeah, business fit, that sounds right. 

“From the beginning, we have been constantly looking for the best paths to achieve scale and continue to advance our innovative technology,” the press release continued. “Typically, startups in the Bosch Startup Platform are integrated into existing Bosch business units, but after extensive review, there was not a business fit within Bosch to support and scale our business.” 

So there you have it. In the end, Kuri’s stated cause of death wasn’t a lack of consumer interest or a failure to get the tech right. Instead, the ignoble end of a rather ignoble creature was the inability to figure out how to wrap the product into the larger business conglomerate that is Bosch. 

Maybe Kuri’s designers should have also made it combat-ready? There will alway be a market for that

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/07/25/kuri-robot-discontinued/