Drone racing is becoming an official sport, and ESPN plans to cover it

Many casual observers realized drone racing had become a thing when they discovered last month that a British teen had landed prize money of $250,000 – yes, $250,000 – after winning the inaugural World Drone Prix event in Dubai.

Drone Racing ESPN
IDRA
IDRA

The sport’s growing profile comes off the back of the rapid rise in popularity of remotely controlled quadcopters over the last 18 months or so. And while plenty of hobbyists are getting their kicks from grabbing stunning aerial footage with their camera-equipped drones, others have honed their flying skills to become expert racers, with many joining newly formed drone leagues across the country.

Now ESPN wants a piece of the action, on Wednesday announcing a multi-layer international distribution deal with the International Drone Racing Association (IDRA) that’ll bring live drone racing to our screens.

Related: See here for the latest photography drones on the market

The sports network’s first IDRA event will be the 2016 U.S. National Drone Racing Championships taking place on Governors Island in New York City over three days from August 5. All the action will be live-streamed on ESPN3 and broadcast later as a one-hour special on one of its TV channels.

Drone racers pilot their flying machines across specially designed racecourses, whizzing around obstacles and buzzing through loop gates at breathtaking speed. Onboard cameras relay the action back to racers who use goggles to view a live video feed of their copter.

Fans, too, can experience the exhilarating first-person view of a racing drone by watching with their own goggles, online, or on TV.

“Drone racing gives anyone the ability to fly like a superhero,” IDRA chairman Dr. Scot Refsland commented. “Because everyone can experience the thrill of racing as if they were sitting in the drone cockpit, the sport is skyrocketing. To go from a first ever, U.S. national drone race to partnering with ESPN for international distribution in eight months is truly a sign of great things ahead.”

Home Theater

ESPN Plus scores the exclusive rights to UFC Pay-Per-View events

If MMA is your game, then ESPN Plus is now a very important player. The Disney-owned service locked up the exclusive rights to UFC Pay-Per-View events, a deal that will last through 2025 in the United States.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in several genres for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Movies & TV

No TV? No problem. Here's how to watch the Final Four online

Whether you want to watch the Big Dance on your phone or on your smart TV, we have the lowdown on all the ways to watch March Madness you can handle. Grab your foam finger and some nachos.
Deals

Stream UFC Fight Night 147: Till vs. Masvidal free with ESPN Plus trial

Another UFC event is coming this Saturday, with Fight Night 147 pitting Darren Till and Jorge Masvidal against each other. If you’re looking for a way to watch it for free, then now’s the time to start your 7-day trial to ESPN Plus so…
Computing

At $99, Nvidia’s Jetson Nano minicomputer seeks to bring robotics to the masses

Nvidia announced a new A.I. computer, the Jetson Nano. This computer comes with an 128-core GPU that Nvidia claims can handle pretty much any A.I. framework you could imagine. At $99, it's an affordable way for A.I. newbies to get involved.
Computing

Nvidia’s A.I. Playground lets you edit photos, experience deep learning research

Nvidia is making it easier to access information on deep learning research. It has launched an online space with three demos for image editing, styling, as well as photorealistic image synthesis. 
Emerging Tech

The U.S. Army is building a giant VR battlefield to train soldiers virtually

Imagine if the U.S. Army was able to rehearse battlezone scenarios dozens, or even hundreds, or times before settling foot on actual terrain. Thanks to virtual reality, that's now a possibility.
Business

British Airways’ new Club Suite for business class comes with a door

British Airways is going after a bigger slice of the business class market with the imminent launch of the Club Suite. The plush seating option offers a more private space as well as an easier route to the bathroom.
Smart Home

Sony’s Aibo robot dog can now patrol your home for persons of interest

Sony released the all-new Aibo in the U.S. around nine months ago, and since then the robot dog has (hopefully) been melting owners' hearts with its cute looks and clever tricks. Now it has a new one up its sleeve.
Emerging Tech

Inflating smart pills could be a painless alternative to injections

Could an inflating pill containing hidden microneedles replace painful injections? The creators of the RaniPill robotic capsule think so — and they have the human trials to prove it.
Emerging Tech

A silver bullet is being aimed at the drug-resistant superbugs on the ISS

A bacteria which is benign here on Earth can mutate into a drug-resistant superbug once it enters space. Now this problem is being tackled by a team of microbiologists who have found a way to inhibit the spread of bacteria in the ISS.
Emerging Tech

Tombot is the hyper-realistic dog robot that puts Spot to shame

Forget Boston Dynamics’ Spot! When it comes to robot dogs, the folks behind a new Kickstarter campaign have plans to stake their claim as makers of man’s (and woman’s) newest best friend.
Emerging Tech

Researchers gave alligators headphones and ketamine, and all for a good cause

Researchers in Germany and the United States recently gave ketamine and earphones to alligators to monitor how they process sounds. Here's what it reveals about alligator evolution.
Emerging Tech

Cheese tastes different when it listens to Led Zeppelin, Swiss study finds

A funky new study says that exposing cheese to music changes its aroma and flavor. What’s more, the genre of music matters. Researchers from the Bern University of Arts played music to nine, 22-pound wheels of Emmental cheese.