Christina Cardoza

Dec 29, 2016 10:14:35 AM

As the drone industry has emerged, so have new business opportunities. Photography, videography, real estate, journalism, search and rescue, and even insurance companies have taken hold of the new technology, while others have been a little bit more creative with their use of drones. 

If you subscribe to InterDrone News’ weekly newsletter, you are accustomed to our drone usage section where we showcase some interesting usages around the world. Some have been inspiring, using drones in natural disaster areas and to save lives. Others have been more practical… And then there have been some that make us scratch our heads. 

Here are the top weirdest drone usages we featured this year:

The sunscreen pooping drone

We all know the importance of wearing sunscreen, but our little ones aren’t too concerned about the consequences of not wearing sunscreen. In probably one of the weirdest drone usages we have seen, Nivea looked to address this with a seagull drone that poops out sunscreen from the sky. The idea was to “poop” sunscreen onto kids to somehow promote the use of sunscreen and make it more fun for kids to apply. If Nivea decides to go through with this idea, it will have to figure out exactly how it is going to shoot out sunscreen without getting into eyes, on food, or on other unwanted places and people. But hey, they do say getting pooped on is lucky… SEE IT HERE 

The tooth pulling drone

The number of use cases for drones are endless, ranging from emergency situations to professional environments, or in some cases just for fun (or nonsense). Next time your kid can’t keep their hands out of their mouth playing with a loose tooth, why not speed up the falling-out process with the help of your drone? One man attached a string of floss to a Millennium Falcon drone and tied the other end around his daughter's tooth. The result: One less tooth, and one happy (but shocked) little girl. SEE IT HERE

The Snotbot drone

The health of the oceans’ ecosystems directly correlates with the health of whales, but whales are facing more and more threats every day, according to the Ocean Alliance. In order to help protect and preserve the whales, the Ocean Alliance needs to be able to analyze and track the health of whales without interfering with their daily lives. To do this, it has teamed up with DJI to create what they call a “Snotbot.” The organization is using a DJI Phantom 4 to shadow whales and collect samples from them.

“The idea being Snotbot is to collect physical biological data and video and photographs from a whale without the whale knowing, and we needed a drone to collect that data,” said Iain Kerr, CEO of the Ocean Alliance. “This is going to give us a whole new perspective. We can help conserve this animal with a US$3,000 drone and a few drops of snot.” SEE IT HERE

The snowboarding drone

Next time you go skiing or snowboarding with your buddies, why not take your drone? A new video surfaced on YouTube that takes snowboarding to the next level: droneboarding. Instead of videotaping yourself going down the slopes with the use of a drone, how about you use the drone to get down the slopes? The video features a snowboarder getting pulled around by a drone. Now, of course this would probably be impossible with a heavier person, but when drones get faster and stronger, the possibilities become clear: waterskiing with a drone instead of a boat, sleigh riding, ice skating, etc. SEE IT HERE

The trash drone

Nobody likes having to take out the trash, and with the help of a drone, hopefully someday you won’t have to. A group of college students have developed a robot that can automatically collect and empty trash bins. The robot is controlled by a drone that scans the area and tells the robot where to find the trash bins.

The drone-controlled robot is part of the Robot-based Autonomous Refuse (ROAR) project, a collaboration between the Volvo Group, Chalmers University of Technology, Mälardalen University, Penn State University, and recycling company Renova.

“We predict a future with more automation,” said Per-Lage Götvall, project manager for robot development for the Volvo Group. “This project is intended to stimulate our imagination, to test new concepts that may shape transport solutions of the future…” SEE IT HERE

The firework drone

It may come as a surprise to you, but not everyone likes fireworks. They are loud, messy and dangerous. Intel thinks there is a better way to put on a light show. The company took 100 drones and performed a light show synced to an orchestra playing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. According to the company, they not only proved how easy it was to control a drone swarm and put on an amazing show, they set a Guinness World Record for most drones airborne simultaneously... SEE IT HERE 

The babysitting drone

Wish you could check up on your house to see what your pets or kids are up to when you are not there? There’s a drone for that. Sure, you could install a top-of-the-line security system, but even then you can’t control the camera, and it can’t show you all the nooks and crannies of your house. Introducing the Rook: a drone that connects to the Internet and allows users to operate the drone from anywhere in the world. Users can control and view streams from their phone in real time.

“Current drones have complicated roll, pitch and yaw controls (what?!), lacking intuitive controls that would be useful for everyday consumers. Users can't easily program them or set up indoor flight routines. We wanted a drone that was easy to set up and fly. And that's how the idea for Rook was born,” according to the drone’s Indiegogo page… SEE IT HERE

The dance troupe drone

While drones are being used as an efficient and cost-effective solution for most industries, their versatility goes beyond just business. Recently, Elevenplay, a Japanese multimedia dance troupe, used drones as part of their dance performance. The drones were able to light up and dance along with the troupe, adding another element to the stage... SEE IT HERE

The tennis partner drone

When tennis players need to practice their swing, they often use a ball machine in order to help improve stamina, agility and focus. The problem with ball machines is that while they can throw the ball at different angles, it is often at the same low level. Drone-ovic aims to solve that problem with its tennis-playing drone, which is able to drop a tennis ball at different heights to help developers perfect their serve and smash... SEE IT HERE

The pizza drone

Domino’s is bringing a new meaning to the phrase “pie in the sky.” The company has announced it is teaming up with drone delivery service company Flirtey on a commercial pizza drone delivery service. 

"Partnering with Flirtey to revolutionize the delivery experience is an achievement that will set our company apart in the minds of customers and change the way delivery is conducted around the world," said Don Meij, group CEO and managing director of Domino's Pizza Enterprises. "Domino's customers can expect the freshest and fastest pizza delivery service at the same quality they have come to expect from us thanks to Flirtey's industry-leading technology." LEARN MORE

The advertisement drone

As technology and the Internet have advanced, so have advertisements. Now advertisements are able to provide users with a more targeted marketing approach, following them wherever they go. Uber is taking the latter quite literally by sending a fleet of drones over Mexico City traffic to advertise its UberPOOL service. The signs are written in Spanish with phrases like: “Driving by yourself? This is why you can never see the volcanoes.” LEARN MORE

The cat saving drone

We’ve seen drones used in emergency life-saving situations, and even in endangered species situations, but how about just your regular cat-stuck-in-a-tree situation? Well, not exactly a tree, but a 100-foot water tower. Technical Rescue Systems, a safety and rescue training company, recently donated its services to help a kitty in need. The company used its fleet of drones to inspect the tower and structure to ensure the crew could safely rescue the kitten when other carriers and companies refused to take the risk. The kitty rescue ended up being a success. SEE IT HERE

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