22/10/2016 Click


22/10/2016

Gadgets, websites, games and computer industry news. Click travels to Rwanda to see how drones are being used to potentially save lives in rural areas.


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Transcript


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Now on BBC News - Click.

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This week, can this drone save a life?

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Can an app save your carpet?

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And will it be curtains for this flying lampshade?

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You could be forgiven for thinking that all this talk of drones

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has just been an excuse to make elaborate adverts

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for pizza deliveries!

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for pizza companies!

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Certainly though, if you believe the hype, it won't be long before

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drones are doing a lot more than just dropping off

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piping hot margaritas.

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Amazon's Prime Air, for example, promises to one day deliver

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packages to customers within 30 minutes or less.

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That's if they can make machines safe and convince government

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and regulators that is a good idea.

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Despite the promise, so far, drones have pretty much been

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constrained to wacky research project, and wacky racecourses.

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It feels to me that we are still waiting to see them come

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out of the labs and into the wild to

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make a real difference.

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So, where do you think we are going to go for

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this next drone story?

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Stanford, California?

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No, MIT, Boston?

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No, Dan Simmons is in Rwanda.

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This drone has beaten the biggest names in tech and retail to become

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the world's first to offer an ongoing commercial delivery

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service that works.

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I hung out with the guys in the run-up to the launch,

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and learnt some of the secrets of how they did it.

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First, assemble a crack squad.

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Don't let the West Coast looks fool you: these guys have

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engineered stuff for SpaceX, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Google.

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They operate like the marines in freshers week.

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Yes, there will be mishaps, but they are focused.

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Second, don't use a chopper, quad copter or anything else that

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resembles a mobile blender.

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Fixed wing goes further, faster and is more of a bust.

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Right now we have a range of 150 kilometres, round-trip,

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it allows us to carry a bigger payload and it allows us to fly

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in all weather conditions.

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So we can fly in up to very high winds.

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And we can also fly in the rain.

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To get it off the ground, an elastic rubber cord is wound up

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and then catapults the drone, from zero to 80 kmph,

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in under one second.

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Once it's clear, two propellers click in, taking it up

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to a cruising speed of 100 kmph.

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Now, the pilot is the on-board computer.

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Following it is a very precise GPS called an RTK GTS.

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It gives us precision up to several centimetres, so every time a plane

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is going out for a mission, it gets a new set of ST cards

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with a new mission and then additionally, these ST cards become

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the black box of the vehicle, things like airspeed,

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ground speed, temperature of internal components,

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tracking errors, so if we are off a metre or two in one direction,

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all things we can feed back into the engineering crosses.

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all things we can feed back into the engineering process.

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If you are off one metre or two in one direction,

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is it that precise?

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Yes, that is our out about.

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This is a tennis ball.

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Have you got a fancy name for it?

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No.

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You called it a tennis ball.

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It is the preflight handle (!) Preflight handle impact buffer,

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we can call it that!

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Next trick, downland the thing to drop off the package,

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just dropped off the package.

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When over its target, these barn doors open

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and four rubber bands ping the cargo out of the hold,

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which hopefully has one of these attached.

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Next up, do lots of testing.

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Follow the plane...

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I will be behind the drop...

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LAUGHTER

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That was supposed to, that was supposed to drop dead then,

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That was supposed to, that was supposed to drop it then,

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as it went over, but something happened and it hasn't worked.

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So we might try another time.

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Zip dips to make the drop, but will not do so if it

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is of course.

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is off course.

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It will try ten times before it aborts the mission and goes home.

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This is the package that delivers, it comes down on what was not

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a brilliantly operational parachute, I guess, looks like it

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has come apart.

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This is biodegradable, one-time use.

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They don't need to worry about the environmental impact

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of using this.

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Inside is the life-saving package.

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This is the blood that will be used by surgeons,

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possibly to save somebody's life, and as you can see,

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it is extremely well wrapped up.

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I expect when we open it, it will be perfectly usable.

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You have a unique set of challenges in terms of blood

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and delivering other kinds of medical products,

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Rwanda is known as the land of a thousand hills,

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it can be a hard place to get around.

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We realised it was a place where we could move quickly and do

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something for the first time in the world, but also a place

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where the need was very high for something like Zip.

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While pizza delivery schemes may struggle to justify

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the cost of using drones, saving the lives of mothers

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after childbirth, or road accident victims, is something worth paying

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for.

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So you actually move the patient, sometimes,

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rather than actually get the blood to the patient, because it

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is quicker.

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Yes.

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Now, the doctor just need to send a text message.

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The government pays asked for each and every flight we do

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but the really cool thing is that these flights are actually

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about equal or a little less expensive than the way

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they were currently doing these deliveries,

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using motorcycles, or trucks.

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It's always useful to get yourself a friendly government

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that wants to help.

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Rwanda has form, it had fibre broadband ten years ago,

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was first in Africa to 4G, and the biggest investor

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in one laptop per child.

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This is innovation.

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We cannot figure out all of the right answers before we start.

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At the same time, we look at what is at stake,

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it is people's lives at stake.

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Why have you made different rules for this project?

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I don't think we have made rules for this project,

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we made rules for an industry.

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And what we are setting up for is really an environment

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which will allow many drones companies to come and

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operate on a commercial basis, even experiment.

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Zips fly below passenger plane airspace, and must

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report their position over the cell network, back to the nest and two

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air traffic control.

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back to the nest and to air traffic control.

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Nosing around alongside, international courier firm UPS.

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Might they use Zips?

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That first drone taking off today was actually a game changer.

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A game changer for the global logistics industry and a game

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changer for our humanitarian activities around the world.

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What happens if it hits a bird?

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We have never hit a bird, it is not super quiet,

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so birds hear it coming, and generally, a bird's life

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strategy is to stay away from birds that are bigger than it!

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So it is not a problem we have ever come in contact with.

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But, if we were to lose one motor, our vehicle is designed to be able

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to fly home on a single motor.

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And the final tip for drone delivery success, bring it home safely.

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Zipline plucks its drones from the sky, like they are landing

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on an aircraft carrier.

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The wire goes up, and the hook at the back of the zip catches...

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Bringing it down safely.

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Together with local residents, I looked on, and could not help

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but admire what this team has achieved,

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but I also had some concerns.

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The system relies on one team from the US, so expansion

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to an ever-increasing waiting list of African countries

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is likely to be slow.

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The drop needs an open but secure target area.

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This is not a to-the-door solution.

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We can have a plane ready to fly in less than five minutes.

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And given drones are more information for dropping munitions,

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seeing the military take an interest made me feel uneasy.

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Although the technology minister told me that is not the plan.

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What's happened here is a milestone, a commercially viable drone delivery

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service has been talked about for years, now finally,

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this crack squad have made the drop.

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Now, I can't compete with the life-saving drones

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in Rwanda, but I can show you a use for drones which may help to make

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them all a bit safer.

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And it looks spectacular, too.

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This is Cirque du Soleil's Broadway show, Paramour,

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the stars of that show are arguably not the performers but the flying

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lampshades.

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This is not just a one off film, remember, this is a live,

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repeatable performance.

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If you make a video, you have the luxury of

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If you make a video, you have the luxury of

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doing it a hundred times and choosing the best shot.

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If you are doing something on Broadway, it is running

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eight times a week, 2000 people each time.

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It needs to work every single time.

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So many things on a drone can fail, a battery could overheat,

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communication could be lost, and for those reasons,

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Paramour drones, seen here in their giant rehearsal space

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in Zurich, have built in redundancy, two batteries,

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two flight computers.

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But these quadcopters are even safer than that, they can still stay

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stable, and land safely, even if they use a propeller.

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Something that we will now demonstrate in a most

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spectacular and unnecessarily violent manner!

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LAUGHTER

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You didn't see me flinch, you were

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looking at the other thing, weren't you,

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see me run for cover!

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Do I need to tell you never to try this, ever?

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There is a fraction of a second, where I lose

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control of my bodily functions...

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Just a fraction.

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LAUGHTER

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When I said they can stay stable,

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I did mean after what I will call

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the initial evacuation...

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It's only because of the special control

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software developed here, that these drones can

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stay in control when a

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blade is stopped.

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The key ingredient to being able to fly on less than

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four propellers is spinning.

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So any flying machine that has had a failure and is now flying on less

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than four propellers will be spinning if

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it is trying to stay in one spot.

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No more gentle aerial photography, once you have lost a

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blade, but the thing can land safely.

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The most impressive thing about this recovery from disaster is

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that the drones need no special equipment to survive a lost prop.

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The capability of a quadcopter to

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fly on less than four propellers, is

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pure software feature.

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All standard quadcopters have all the sensors and actuators

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that they need for it.

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There is no good reason to have a drone that falls out of

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the sky just because one of the propellers has failed.

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the sky just because one of the propellers has failed.

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In fact, a drone can fly under control, albeit

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spinning, if it goes down to not just three

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blades but even down to two.

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So, could a drone fly on just one?

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Here's your answer.

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Nice.

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Oh, yeah.

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One propeller!

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One propeller.

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One propeller?!

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And no lifting surfaces, no other actuators, it is

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sustained aloft and controlling itself with only one propeller.

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This is really to push the boundary of

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what you can do with flying machines.

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The fact...

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We ask ourselves a simple question, what is

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the minimum number of actuators that you need to fly?

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We were surprised when the answer was one, we

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discovered this theoretically, and then we set out to build a

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prototype.

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Wow.

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Could a quad copter that we have today fly with one

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propeller, if it was using your algorithm?

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It could, if it was powerful enough.

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The limit then becomes, does one propeller have

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enough thrust to keep the quad copter aloft?

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You would never design...

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It would not be a good design if you designed a quad with

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five or six times excess thrust.

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It may not be practical, but that is what I like

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about what I have heard, he and his students

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in ETH in Zurich are

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learning huge amounts about balance and control systems, by pushing

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their machines beyond what we would normally want them to do.

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Balancing a stick on your head, or drone

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tennis, aren't probably top of the list, but this

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is all about reacting quickly to rapid changes,

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re-sampling the situation, re-calculating what to do, 50 times

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a second.

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And that leads to a drone that can recover from a massive

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shock, like a strong gust of wind, and impact,

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or, indeed, the loss of a propeller.

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I can also see uses for a drone that can fly like a

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plane or a helicopter.

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And one that can fly any way up.

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But, Raph is unashamedly theoretical.

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I look at it from what is possible.

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Whenever you push the boundary of what

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something can do, especially autonomous systems, then naturally,

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people see that and go, you could use this for that!

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I have seen that happen only a few times.

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You are the archetypal solution looking for a problem.

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Well...

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But I'm not looking for a problem, and

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the reason is, that, that serves a huge need in our society,

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to explore what is possible, to stimulate our

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imagination on what can be done.

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And what can be done is not just limited to drones.

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Sensors, gyroscopes and self balancing

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systems could be used to control nonflying objects, too.

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One day, a descendant of the QB here may be a

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robot, which balances and walks its way across

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the surface of another planet.

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As for the flying lampshades, they had better watch

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out, there is already something that wants to upstage them.

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Certainly a better circus act than this pair of

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chancers.

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BEEP

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Ah!

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First time!

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LAUGHTER.

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If you've ever felt that you've made a mistake when it comes to

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decorating or furnishing your home, then you are certainly not alone, so

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here are a few things that may be able to help in future.

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This app has it planned from the ground up,

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using augmented reality to change the appearance of your flooring.

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Through a combination of this Windows tablet and depth sensing

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camera, the app can interpret using its algorithm is exactly how far

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away the floor is and which area is floor.

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Retailers will be able to

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provide this setup as part of their service from later this year.

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I really like this function, you can change the direction of it.

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You can use this app, moving, and it will

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create the floor, in real-time, wherever

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you are moving to, so the

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carpet is disappearing and as I walk into the

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kitchen, it has changed the

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kitchen tiles, this does seem to be a room that the tiles make sense in.

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Not bad, now in some places, the images are a little bit

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fuzzy around the edges, that is all dependent on

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how good the light is in a room.

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The company's technology means there is

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no need to tell the app where the ground is and it is already

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being used by retailers to allow customers

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to virtually place furniture.

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AR being used to visualise items with a

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smartphone or tablet before buying them is nothing new, it is just

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improving.

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It has had over 2 million downloads, and will soon be

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available using Google Tango, the project we recently showed you on

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Click, where these functions will all be packed into an albeit chunky

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enabled smartphone.

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The depth sensing and motion tracking that the

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software and hardware in this device are capable of means you can really

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move around and see the furniture placed anywhere you want it to go,

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and You can also see the dimensions, which should be pretty

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and you can also see the dimensions, which should be pretty accurate.

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It is quite incredible actually, the level of detail, and

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the reflection that you get, which is not the real reflection

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but it is the impression of it being a reflection.

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Of course, measurements being precise is pretty pivotal, and

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that is where this smart tape measure can help.

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The Bagel, as it's known, which isn't for lunch, is

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currently in crowdfunding, and aims to measure any shape or size

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through its three different modes.

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String, Wheel or Remote, storing the data

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along with voice memos that you record on the go.

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Yet when it comes to the decor of the future,

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what it actually looks like could become less important.

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In the future, the technology will really help people

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to live the lives they want.

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They might not have very much money in

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the bank, and they can live in a horrible little shop, but with

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the bank, and they can live in a horrible little plot, but with

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augmented reality, and enhanced intelligence, they can have a

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fantastic palatial environment which looks exactly like where

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they would love to live.

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You might have one contact lens in each eye just looks

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like a normal contact lens, that could be producing an image straight

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onto your retina.

0:21:280:21:29

The important thing though is that when it comes

0:21:290:21:31

to the physical things, you still have do have a comfy seat.

0:21:310:21:34

to the physical things, you still have to have a comfy seat.

0:21:340:21:37

The comfy seat is the only thing that you

0:21:370:21:39

actually have to have in your living room.

0:21:390:21:41

When it comes to finding that

0:21:410:21:42

comfortable seat, you may need to venture to an actual, real life

0:21:420:21:45

furniture shop!

0:21:450:21:48

Presuming they still exist(!)

0:21:480:21:49

And finally, this.

0:21:490:21:51

Meet holographic Thom Yorke.

0:21:510:21:55

This ethereal visitor makes an appearance in Mark

0:21:550:21:57

Pritchard's latest track, beautiful people.

0:21:570:22:04

Pritchard's latest track, Beautiful People.

0:22:040:22:05

Director Michal Marczak tells us what technology

0:22:050:22:07

technology he's been using to create this haunting,

0:22:070:22:09

rather alien vision.

0:22:090:22:15

What I like about the track is that it was really melancholic.

0:22:150:22:19

And evoked feelings of sadness.

0:22:190:22:20

And loss.

0:22:200:22:21

And loss.

0:22:210:22:22

For me.

0:22:220:22:23

But the vocals of Thom Yorke, they kind of exude

0:22:230:22:26

a kind of sadness but

0:22:260:22:31

at the same time something positive comes out of them.

0:22:310:22:33

Like a sense of wonder.

0:22:330:22:34

What could aliens in the future do to

0:22:340:22:36

simulate a face?

0:22:360:22:37

We thought it would be cool to have this utility

0:22:370:22:40

fog.

0:22:400:22:43

With thousands of one or two atom particles which can assemble into

0:22:430:22:46

any form or shape, with a swarm intelligence.

0:22:460:22:48

So we kind of thought that we would do these little

0:22:480:22:50

metallic, hundreds of thousands of metallic particles, that can

0:22:500:22:53

assemble into a face.

0:22:530:23:00

We hacked a Kinect, that is what we used to

0:23:000:23:03

scan Thom's face, it is infrared, not very precise, so we had

0:23:030:23:06

to develop a technique to mellow it all out, it does not handle

0:23:060:23:11

spikes, which are associated with the Kinect.

0:23:110:23:21

And then to turn that into a strong mesh, which we can

0:23:260:23:29

then simulate with particle simulation.

0:23:290:23:36

To get it right, it was a couple of days of work.

0:23:360:23:42

It is amazing that we have this type of technology and I

0:23:420:23:45

can't wait until it is faster!

0:23:450:23:46

I can't wait for that moment where you

0:23:460:23:48

can have the camera, there, and augmented reality of what I am

0:23:480:23:52

getting, and I'm really playing the visual effects of reality,

0:23:520:23:54

and so this particle selection is reflecting

0:23:540:23:56

off the light at this moment,

0:23:560:24:00

we are adding so

0:24:000:24:01

much realism to this thing.

0:24:010:24:03

That is the amazing next step.

0:24:030:24:07

And that is it for this week.

0:24:070:24:09

You can follow us on Twitter throughout the week for loads

0:24:090:24:12

of backstage photos and fun.

0:24:120:24:13

Thank you very much for watching, see you soon.

0:24:130:24:23

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