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04/30/2013

DroneShield: a device that alerts you to nearby UAVs

Drone
An unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, en route to a target in Pakistan. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP file photo). 

Drones have lots of fun, non-murderous uses. And the vast majority of the unmanned aerial vehicles humming across Canada's skies these days are of the former variety: homemade vessels piloted by harmless dorks who just want to tinker with techy toys.

Still, it's not unreasonable to fret over whether your neighbour's teenage son is hovering a tiny, camera-equipped spy plane anywhere in the vicinity of your bedroom window.

Enter DroneShield, an as-yet-unbuilt device that detects nearby drones. We came across this via Noah Shachtman, of Wired's national security blog Danger Room.

DroneShield, according to its IndieGoGo funding page, would contain a microphone that picks up the acoustic signatures of UAVs. By testing the signatures of known drones against its database, it would filter out other noises like lawnmowers and leafblowers.

The device could even tell you what kind of drone is nearby.

The team behind the technology, according to their website, "has over 20 years of combined experience working on science and engineering projects including machine learning and acoustic signal processing.  We have advanced degrees in engineering and computer science, including MIT and UMD graduates, and a proven track record of finishing projects on time and within budget for our customers."

The project still has a ways to go: as of Tuesday at noon, they had raised $94 of their $3,500 goal.

Click here to read more about drones on thestar.com

Kate Allen is the Star's science and technology reporter. Find her on Twitter at @katecallen.

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