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5 awesome drone stories you may not have heard of

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Drones have been in popular culture long enough for nearly everyone to be familiar with their normal uses in filming, photography and parcel deliveries.

But what about the more unconventional stuff?

UAVs can help fight fires, rebuild monuments and save the lives of people and animals. But if you’ve followed us for any length of time, you probably know all that.

Here are five cool drone clips that might not have crossed your radar:

1. Playing Air Tennis 

This clip is an oldy but a goody. Filmed in 2011, these students from ETH Zurich built custom quadcopters with tennis rackets affixed to the top.  The two drones play an impressive version of aerial pong using motion capture systems. Each drone tracks the movement of a ball and moves to the right spot to return the ball to its partner drone.

2. Spray Painting Walls

If you’ve got an easily manoeuvrable flying vehicle and an external wall of a large building that needs painting, who’d bother with traditional painting methods? Painting the sides of tall buildings is an expensive, logistical challenge.  A typical scenario would involve having to hire a bunch of workers as well as fit scaffolding to the outside of the building.  That’s where an autonomous spray painting drone could come in handy.

3. Hoverboard Flies Around Stadium

I guess technically this isn’t a drone, as the guy riding the hoverboard is in control. Nevertheless, the Omni Hoverboard is a very impressive piece of kit. Built by a Canadian start-up, in 2015, the first version of the Omni Hoverboard achieved a Guinness World Record of continuous manned flight for 275 meters and stayed flying for one and a half minutes. It has eight props powered by 16 lithium-polymer batteries. As you can imagine, you need a lot of power to lift and sustain a grown man flying through the air.

In the clip below, the Hoverboard’s inventor delivers the first ball at the final of a Portuguese football match.

Stories 4 and 5 on the next page

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