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Researchers Discover Drones Can Be Killed by Sound

In the new fight against drones, scientists at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have found an easy and efficient way to take out drones. Using sound waves, they are able to target the on-board gyroscope that a drone uses to balance itself. The research is being presented in Washington, D.C. next week.

Every drone has a gyroscope which is electronic and keeps track of its orientation (tilt and other directional movements); it automatically makes adjustments to keep the drone stable in the air.

Without the gyroscope, even the most skilled drone pilot wouldn’t have a chance of keeping it airborne.

Their paper, entitled “Rocking Drones with Intentional Sound Noise on Gyroscopic Sensors,” will be presented next week at the 24th USENIX Security Symposium in Washington, D.C.

Have you ever run your finger around the rim of a wine glass until it started to make a sound? You’re actually causing the glass to resonate, and it turns out the same approach can be used to disable a drone mid-flight. Many electronics are designed to only resonate at high frequencies well above the range of human hearing to ensure everyday sounds don’t affect their operation, according to Gizmodo.

Testing the five best drones you can buy:

What the researchers discovered was that most drones have cheaper gyroscopes that will resonate when exposed to a specific sound. When it starts to resonate and vibrate, it loses the ability to keep track of its balance. When this happens, it will incorrectly over-compensate while making adjustments to its rotors, causing it fail and sending the drone crashing to the ground.

According to Tech Times, the sound waves must be very intense and loud to achieve the outcome of the drone crashing. In the tests conducted, researchers mounted a speaker directly to the housing of the drone, but in a situation where there is a drone in the sky that needs to be taken out, it obviously won’t have speakers attached to it.

Drones for Good—$1m competition in Dubai:

Despite this, researchers did say that it might be possible to knock a drone out from afar. According to researchers, it would take around 140 decibels to take out an aircraft that is up to 130 feet away. Not only that, but military and law enforcement are developing non-lethal weapons that use sound waves to take out a target from 5.5 miles away, Tech Times added.

It may be a better way of keeping your privacy then shooting it down like this father did.

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Troy Oakes
Troy was born and raised in Australia and has always wanted to know why and how things work, which led him to his love for science. He is a professional photographer and enjoys taking pictures of Australia's beautiful landscapes. He is also a professional storm chaser where he currently lives in Hervey Bay, Australia.

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