What are Drones?

Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles that are controlled autonomously by computers or pilots with remote controls. They were innovated in the early 1900s for military personnel training and typically leveraged in operations that are too dangerous or time-consuming for humans. Still most commonly used for military purposes, drones have been deployed for a wide range of tasks, such as policing and community surveillance and security, filmmaking, and the surveying of agriculture and crops. In the past century, drone technology has advanced users’ abilities to extensively view objects and landscapes below, as well as to detect changes in environmental conditions. Features including biological and chemical sensors, electromagnetic spectrum sensors, and infrared cameras make these detailed observations possible. While legal and ethical concerns have been raised by many over the prospect of constantly being monitored by these vehicles, new civil aviation programs and experiments that include drones reflect a growing use of the technology. There are not yet concrete applications for teaching and learning, but the continuous progress of drones in the military and consumer sectors make them compelling to watch closely over the next few years.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Feb 8, 2012

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • The greatest impact in the education section is the ability for visitors to self-explore areas. - rstriojr rstriojr Oct 28, 2014
  • This is an intriguing technology that has been used in a number of other sectors--perhaps has a potential to document special events and festivals to provide not only a record but also accessibility for greater numbers of people; interesting opportunities for botanical gardens and zoological parks in terms of monitoring and observing living collections and/or providing visitor access to educational programming not otherwise possible. Would the documentation of installation art and/or performance art works expand opportunities for educational programming? - CReich CReich Oct 29, 2014
  • Bird's eye views, captured or in real time, provide an excellent context- and space-setting experience. In addition, as video becomes more and more the medium of learning experiences, the ability for drones to go where people cannot provides richer content possibilities. - dhegley dhegley Oct 30, 2014
  • I'm skeptical that drones will be much good for anything in museums beyond goofing around, or providing an easier sort of helicopter image of archeological sites. They would be cool for that, though. I suppose you could have a drone camera that visitors could operate to explore an off-limits archeological site, but the idea of implementing that and keeping it running reliably, day-in, day-out, sends waves of fear and anxiety through my administrator psyche. Drones can crash, break, wear out, hit things, hit people.... all of these are a real drag for museums.- weberj weberj Nov 3, 2014
  • add your response here

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Drones have the potential to invade people's privacy. Any implementation of a drone project would have to consider this. - rstriojr rstriojr Oct 28, 2014
  • There is a significant concern revolving around safety as well as licensing issues. - CReich CReich Oct 29, 2014
  • I agree that safety is a concern, esp. given the suggestion above that people could self-explore - not sure I'd agree quickly with that approach. Even experienced drone pilots make mistakes. - dhegley dhegley Oct 30, 2014
  • add your response here

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on education and interpretation in museums?

  • Many areas of museums are not accessible to visitors because of lack of safe entrances (tops of buildings) or because they are treatment centers like underwater desalination tanks. Drones could allow visitors to explore these areas with aid. - rstriojr rstriojr Oct 28, 2014
  • Drone technology may provide a means to access otherwise inaccessible areas for educational opportunities as well as possibly expanding the impact of festival type events or performance art. - CReich CReich Oct 29, 2014
  • More video content, exploring inaccessible or dangerous areas, providing wider overviews of physical space and/or context for viewing smaller exhibitions or collections. - dhegley dhegley Oct 30, 2014
  • add your response here

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • At the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, we've been using a video-equipped drone to create digital films including fly-overs, onsite and at other physical sites that pertain to the collection. We've also been working with local artists, both in documentary fashion and in collaboration, to create video art. Early stages for now, we have footage but haven't put together any impressive films as of yet nor do I have any links to share. - dhegley dhegley Oct 30, 2014
  • add your response here

Please share information about related projects in our Horizon Project Sharing Form.