With everything from exceedingly competent bipedal robots to the NSA’s SKYNET program to virtually inhabitable teddy bears, the 21st century is getting off to a great start affirming many of the frighteningly dystopian techno trends predicted by science fiction of decades past. And now, with AEROTAIN’s blimp-drone combo (blone?), which can literally take on the appearance of a big eye in the sky, it seems like we’re throwing any speck of metaphor out the window and just going straight for “Big Brother is watching you.” But there’s more to this blimp-drone than meets the eye.
In fact, this sky-ball is all about entertainment!
Dubbed “Project Skye,” the floating soccer ball/eyeball featured in the above video is the brainchild of AEROTAIN, a swiss company that aims to offer “fun and interactive flying solutions to creatives [while boosting] the attention and coverage of brands and products.” In other words, get ready for a whole lot of advertisements at parties and other social gatherings via self-propelled blimps.
AEROTAIN claims that its Skye Project is “the Bentley of aerial platforms, offering new horizons in aerial entertainment.” And while it’s hard to say definitively that this is the king of blimp-drones, it does definitely offer some cool tech. According to AEROTAIN’s site, the Skye platform uses a helium-filled balloon for levitation (which has a diameter of about nine feet), and motorized propellers for movement. This allows it to execute “any translation while having any orientation” and perform “astonishing movements” such as rotating itself in the air continuously. Skye also has “scaleable payloads,” which means it’s good for carrying heavy cameras as well.
The hull of an individual Skye blimp-drone can also, according to Andreas Schaffner—one of AEROTAIN’s founders who spoke with IEEE Spectrum—be shaped as anything, not necessarily just a sphere. Although, it is limited to flying about 100 feet off the ground, and moving at about 12 miles per hour. It’s also too difficult for regular folk to pilot at this time, but AEROTAIN says that that will change in the future.
The company behind a big eye in the sky making plans for the future? Sounds like fun!
What do you think about AEROTAIN’s Skye Project? Is this a useful development in drone technology, or an Orwellian nightmare of eye-popping proportions? Let us know in the comments section below!
HT: IEEE Spectrum