Scientists at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have found an easier and more efficient way to deactivate drones in the air — target their gyroscopes with sound waves.
Every drone makes use of a gyroscope to track its orientation and tilt, allowing it to make movements while in the air. If that gyroscope, however, is deactivated, the drone can't remain in the air for long.
The idea is similar to when someone runs his or her finger along a wine glass, producing a sound, which is created when the glass resonates at a certain frequency. In the same way, sound waves can make other things resonate. In fact, electronics like the gyroscope in the drone are designed to resonate at high frequencies so that they are not affected by everyday sound. Many drones, however, actually use cheaper gyroscopes that will resonate when they are exposed to a certain frequency of sound.
When a gyroscope is exposed to this specific frequency, it will overcompensate and make adjustments to the speed of its rotors, quickly sending the drone crashing to the ground.
Of course, sending a drone to the ground isn't as easy as simply cranking your home stereo. 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.
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.
Using the right frequency, a drone can be stopped mid-air with almost no damage to the drone itself. Of course, after it falls and hits the ground, it will be a different story.
The tech could certainly come in handy as time goes on and drones are found in the sky more often, especially in emergency situations. It could also come in handy as a defense mechanism in the event of a drone attack or any kind of drone warfare.
The paper presenting the findings of the research will be presented at the Usenix Security Symposium in Washington, D.C. next week.
Via: Computer World