The Voice of Russia, 14 February 2014
In a matter of a few years, tons of drones could be whizzing around residential zones, taking away tiny pieces of privacy people once had. DroneShield is a fresh new concept that alerts of nearby low-flying UAV devices in the area. John Franklin, one of the developers, told the Voice of Russia that 18 countries, including Russia, have already put in orders for the gadget and has been creating buzz ever since.
Less than seven years from now there be up to 10,000 privately owned and operated drones gliding through the air in the US alone, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s forecast. Though, the most recent device on the market promises to alert residents of when a small-sized drone has dropped by to visit.
DroneShield is an idea that has been brought to life thanks to crowd-funded resources and the designer of the device aerospace engineer John Franklin along with co-inventor Brian Hearing. The uniqueness in the $99 device is due to the super sensitive microphone it uses to pick up on a drone’s acoustic signature. It then takes in the sound data and it undergoes processing with a cheaply made, mini Raspberry Pi computer. Afterward, the shield device clarifies what the noise is by selecting from an internal list of drone sounds.
One incident sparked Franklin to create such a tool to empower the public during a test drive of his own drone he had purchased in a store. The very first time he used his unmanned device was to scope out debris or pool water that might have been collecting on the rooftop of his row house. Instead, it crashed into his neighbors’ yard. Although Franklin saw it as a nifty looking toy, the expression on his neighbor’s face left a different kind of impression.
“My neighbors’ reaction changed my perspective totally,” Franklin said to the Voice of Russia and then went on, “For them, the drone represented the disembodied eyes of a stranger.” That very experience ignited a fuse in the aerospace engineer and motivated him into launching up a drone campaign with Heading, the other co-founder of the company, with the campaign via Indiegogo. It seems to be a success story in the making.
DroneShield creator Franklin wants the user community to continue on expanding through the use of development, signature exchanges, and alert mapping. Community-based collaboration is essential to the project’s degree of success.
With drones being just a point, click, and purchase away, for a few hundred dollars anyone can get their hands on a drone and use it to their advantage. “There currently is no way to know if a drone is nearby and potentially watching you,” Franklin admitted. DroneShield is one of a kind, as it allows users to know if a true UAV is buzzing by and does not sound off any false flags. In other words, it knows very well the difference between a leaf blower and an AR Parrot drone.
Orders for the DroneShield have been requested by customers in the US as well as 17 other nations, with a rather strong interest for the device coming from Germany. “We do have some orders from Russia,” Franklin said and then added, “Unfortunately all of our international orders are on hold while we apply for an export license from the US government.”
The company is crossing its fingers that the license gets approved of in order for the goods to be shipped out to foreign countries. Franklin feels confident that the paperwork for the licensing will be processed with very little hesitation.
Still, other hurdles may block the DroneShield’s future success. The US government is presently in the process of creating regulations which will rule over how drones are used. DroneShield’s developers hope that the regulations will not put a damper on the product they are selling, wishing that the regulations will not be overly restrictive.
No matter what the future may hold for drone technology, DroneShield is one of the first pieces of technology that alerts a person of a nearby, low-flying UAV nearby. People value their privacy and if such a small but powerful device can alert of when a UAV is in the vicinity then DroneShield has accomplished its main mission.
Phi Beta Iota: Drones — and blimps — may see the first shots fired in a revolution. Most of those shooting at drones and blimps will not give thought to the potential hazard of bullets that miss and fall on unsuspecting civilians. Drones — and blimps — could provide a precipitating spark for a violent revolution. A reaction to a drone shoot-down by militarized police using Gestapo tactics is precisely suited to turning the police themselves in to a target.