vrijdag 10 augustus 2012

Drones: News that flies

Obama must in youth have liked to watch those hobby airplanes, small radio controlled aircrafts with a motor running on alcohol. At least that is what I think about when a read stories about drones used in war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Obama doubled the number of drones attacks, resulting in between 1,492 and 2,378 a total number persons died between 2004 and 2011. Automated warfare, that is very efficient, but being a reporter, how about drone journalism?
Published Memeburn: http://memeburn.com/2012/08/could-ar-drones-be-the-future-of-journalism/

 Good news! You can buy one for about 300 Euro. The AR-Drone is a quadricopter, a chopper with four engines, running on batteries 14.5 Watts per engine, good for a flight of about 10 minutes. It has two build in camera's: 720p HD Camera 30fps and a vertical 92 degrees wide angle camera..
The heart of the machine is 1Ghz 32bit ARM processor with 1Gbit DDR2 RAM, running software which controls the drone. The quadricopter has a WiFi connection to you laptop (also Linux), tablet or smart phone working on a distance of about 50 meters and 6 meters hight. The special software on your device turns you into the pilot. Oh, you want be a wing commander and fly a swarm of drones? Watch this stunning video.
That is an expensive tool to play with. Perhaps, but a month ago there was a fire in one of the canal houses in Amsterdam Central. Of course every access was blocked, but imagine, the reporter runs a drone and get the story. Now we are in drone-reporting! Or take a demonstration, crowd moving forward to the lines of the riots police: start up the drone. Here is a video from Robokopter Zamieszki I, reporting about a confrontation in Warsaw between far-right Polish nationalists celebrating the country's independence day and left-wing anarchists from Germany. In the US The Daily also used the method to show the breadth of damage inflicted by the Tuscaloosa tornado. Imagining other possibilities is not difficult: think about the nuclear disaster such as the Fukushima-Daachii plant in Japan, or do some war reporting in Syria or Gaza strip.
Drones are an interesting platform for journalism: the journalist's eyes in the air. In the US journalism professor Matt Waite started the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to study the legality, ethically and practicality of drones in journalism. Important! When journalists are flying drones, how about the paparazzi, watching royal families or other celebrities in their private holiday resorts? Or the police, when Big Brother is taking up in the sky to watch us all, we should be careful. Here is the code of ethics to start with.

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