Drones are no longer just for the military. The portable flying machines are being used for everything from business to recreation. So what do you get when you combine a drone, a camera and goggles that aren't so far removed from something like the Oculus Rift? The sport of the future, that's what.
Or at least what these enthusiasts hope will be the sport of the future. It's called First person view (FPV) drone racing and it looks incredible. Motherboard recently did a feature video highlighting one small group of FPV racers, the New York City Drone User Group. Enduring the harsh winter weather, the hardcore hobbyists nonetheless meet up regularly to put their homemade drones to the test. Each pilot wears a set of goggles that are linked to cameras on board their drone, allowing the pilot to see through the eyes of the airborne craft, some of which are capable of reaching speeds of 100 mph.
Pilots say it really feels like they are flying when using the goggles, complete with sensations of nausea from doing barrel rolls and the rush of adrenaline that comes from zooming through the skies at high speeds. Speed junkies may have finally found the perfect fix.
The pilots race around local parks in bouts of friendly competition, though they don't yet have formal rules or regulations. The hope is that leagues across the country will spring up and eventually drone races might even be televised on ESPN.
While that might still be a ways off, it's hard not to get caught up in the group's enthusiasm for their hobby. If nothing else, it definitely beats watching NASCAR.