Who needs a plane when you can skydive from a 28-propellor drone?

At the end of last year we marveled at the bizarre sight of high-profile YouTuber Casey Neistat using a humongous drone to lift him high into the sky. The bonkers Christmas stunt used a specially built octocopter strong enough to lift Casey hundreds of feet into the air.

Possibly inspired by Neistat’s aerial antics, Latvia-based drone designer Aerones recently persuaded a skydiver by the name of Ingus Augstkalns to use a drone instead of an airplane for his next jump.

A video posted on YouTube shows Augstkalns standing atop a 120-meter-high tower just ahead of “the world’s first drone jump,” according to Aerones. Next, we see the huge 28-propeller flying machine buzz up to the skydiver, whereupon he grabs hold of it and presumably hopes for the best.

With Augstkalns dangling precariously beneath it, the drone flies away from the platform and reaches an altitude of 330 meters before the skydiver decides it’s probably a good idea to let go. The good news is that Augstkalns’ parachute opened properly and he touched down safely. However, there’s no footage showing what happened to the drone, though we’re assuming it didn’t go rogue and cause untold havoc inside some faraway restricted area.

big drone parachute jump aerones

The enormous contraption took six months to perfect and can carry a payload weighing up to 200 kilograms. Perhaps Amazon might want to use it to deliver larger items that its Prime Air drone can’t handle — we can just see one of Sony’s big-screen OLED offerings flying through the sky with this thing. Silliness aside, Aerones said the stunt was designed to highlight the drone’s potential to act as a rescue vehicle in emergency situations or perform other important work.

“Already in the near future, our technology will save human lives, will help to fight fires and carry out other challenging and significant work,” Aerones’ Jānis Putrāms said in a release. “With this project, we show that we are ready for serious tasks in the field of civil defense and sports.”

Speaking of sports, it was Aerones that last year suggested “droneboarding” as a thing, using another of its super-sized flying machines to pull a boarder across the snow.


Huawei can make superb phones, but the Y7 Prime isn’t one of them

We've adored some of the recent Huawei smartphones, including the excellent P20 Pro; but the firm also makes some cheaper hardware. We've been using the $220 Huawei Y7 Prime to find out if it's similarly tempting.
Home Theater

Google Translate busts out of Pixel jail, now works on any Assistant headphones

The best feature of Google’s Pixel Buds was the built-in real-time translation. Now that incredibly useful feature is available on any headphones that feature Google Assistant integration.

Here's how to download a YouTube video to watch offline later

Learning how to download YouTube videos is easier than you might think. There are plenty of great tools you can use, both online and offline. These are our favorites and a step by step guide on how to use them.

Luminar (re)touches the sky with a simple A.I.-powered slider

Tired of making complex masks to bring out the sky in a photograph? A.I. can do some of that enhancement for you with a new A.I. Sky Enhancer inside Skylum Luminar. The tool uses A.I. to apply the adjustment to only the sky.
Emerging Tech

This intelligent parachute system can bail out clumsy drone pilots

Parachutes can save drones when they unexpectedly fall from the sky. Among a number of such systems, Austrian firm Drone Rescue is this week showing off its latest design that automatically deploys when it senses trouble.

‘Bloodhound’ rocket car needs a speedy cash injection to survive

The rocket-powered Bloodhound car has driven into difficulties, with the company behind the project needing a multi-million-dollar cash injection to save its dream of attempting a 1,000 mph land speed record.
Emerging Tech

Tokyo robotic warehouse needs almost no human workers

Uniqlo has unveiled its first robot-powered warehouse that requires 90 percent fewer human workers to operate. The Japanese clothing giant plans to invest close to $1 billion dollars to convert all of its warehouses worldwide.
Emerging Tech

Curious how A.I. 'brains' work? Here's a super-simple breakdown of deep learning

What is deep learning? A branch of machine learning, this field deals with the creation of neural networks that are modeled after the brain and adept at dealing with large amounts of human-oriented data, like writing and voice commands.
Emerging Tech

Drop everything and watch Boston Dynamics’ robo-dog dance to ‘Uptown Funk’

After a few years of Earthbound training, Boston Dynamics’ SpotMini robot dog is ready to take on Mars. Bruno Mars, to be precise. Check out Skynet's future pet as you've never seen it before.
Emerging Tech

Self-correcting quadcopter can keep itself aloft even if one rotor fails

Most quadcopters won't fly unless all four rotors are functioning. But what happens if one gets damaged during flight? Researchers from the Netherlands think they've come up with a solution.
Emerging Tech

MIT is building a new $1 billion college dedicated to all things A.I.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has announced a new $1 billion college of computing designed to offer the best possible education to future machine learning A.I. experts.
Emerging Tech

This gadget lets you sleep on airplanes without snuggling a stranger

Odd gadget, or a hug for your face? The Napup Fly+ is a travel pillow, sleep mask, and personal speaker system all rolled into one, attached to the back of the headrest to hold your head up.
Emerging Tech

From flying for fun to pro filmmaking, these are the best drones you can buy

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

Healthy mice born from two genetic mothers using stem cells, gene editing

Healthy mice have been born from two genetics mothers and later went on to bear healthy offspring of their own, according to a recent paper published by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.