That blur there is a quad-copter, racing through a sweet forest obstacle course. Screengrab: New Scientist
It may be hard to tell from the image above, but that’s a hot-rodding quadcopter speeding through the forest at about 100 miles an hour. The drone is taking part in the first large-scale first-person video drone race ever in the United States, held last week in Los Angeles.
For the operators, staring at video screens or wearing virtual reality goggles while their drones record the high-speed chase via tiny mounted cameras, the experience is not unlike the best part of the prequel Star Wars movies — the podracing scene.
Check out the video below for a better sense of what these guys are doing.
Ready for your next nerdy dose of Star Wars awesomeness? Lucasfilm Animation and Disney have put together an all-new animated adventure that takes place 14 years after the Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (the third and final prequel in the Star Wars saga) and five years before Star Wars: A New Hope (the original movie that came out in 1977).
If you have an Apple ID, you can check out the first regular episode of the series right now on iTunes for free. How’s that for a deal?
Check out the extended trailer for the Star Wars: Rebels series below.
If the sheer volume of tower defense games on the App Store is any indication, people (and developers) love them. Defending your base against endless hordes of creeps is a wonderful way to spend some gaming time on your portable device; they’re not super twitch-dependent, and they definitely encourage the zen-like focus a lot of us enjoy when playing games.
Add a hot property like Star Wars to the mix, and you’ve got a game full of potential. Rebels and Stormtroopers in a tower defense game? Sign me up!
This is, however, a Mobage/DeNA free-to-play joint, so it’s hard to tell exactly whether it will be a compelling bit of playtime, or just another way to spam your friends with social media requests. The pre-release sign up allows you to earn some points to be used in-game already; this does not bode well, even with a Star Wars branding.
That said, I’m still pretty excited about playing this game. Check out the developer diary below to see if you’re just as excited.
The San Diego Comic Con has a rich history of giving us our first look at the best upcoming sci-fi movies. Case in point: on August 4th, 1979, Comic Con was where George Lucas showed an excited crowd the very first live-action trailer for The Empire Strikes Back.
For thirty-five years, this trailer was thought to be lost, but it has now popped back up online, and it features some footage from Empire that was left on the cutting room floor… including a very icky scene between Luke and Leia.
“I could probably track my interest in toys via Star Wars,” Larner says. “When I was a kid in the early ’80s, I was completely swept up by the original Kenner 3.75-inch range. Then, in the ’90s, the remastered movies came out along with whispers of the prequels so the Star Wars toy range was reintroduced, so that caught my interest again. However, it was when Lego had the bright idea of making Star Wars Lego sets in 1999 that I really got sucked in and I haven’t looked back since!”
Eric is a Stormtrooper who escaped the exploding Death Star and wound up on Earth.
Now he wears jeans, enjoys lavender-scented bubble baths, drinks Johnnie Walker whisky and sings a song about his tomato allergy.
No longer a member of the Galactic Empire guard, Eric serves as muse to British photographer Darryll Jones, a self-described 39-year-old child who has turned his fondness for toys — especially Star Wars action figures — into a Force on Instagram.
“I have always loved toys,” said Jones, a food and lifestyle photographer who does work for the Tesco supermarket chain when he’s not taking pictures of toys. “I recall quite vividly setting up little dioramas in my room or in the garden and playing out the scenes in my mind, imagining that the little plastic figures could come alive.”
Segway tours are so last year now that Scoot has come out with iPhone-locked scooters. Not only is a scooter the best way to see San Francisco's landmarks, the tiny two-wheelers are more environmentally friendly than those huge double-decker tour buses. Just remember to book your reservation in advance because spots fill up quickly.
Ditch the San Francisco fog for a few hours and head down the Peninsula to Apple’s headquarters in sunny Cupertino, California. Sneaking past security at the main entrance can be tricky if you’re dying to get a bite at Caffè Macs, but the Company Store is open to the public and it’s the only place in the world that sells Apple T-shirts, hats and other odd accessories.
Think you know absolutely everything there is to know about Apple hardware and software? Test your knowledge against Apple’s panel of experts at Stump the Experts, the weird WWDC quiz show where Apple employees (both current and former) take on your questions and award you with T-shirts and other swag if you manage to sneak a clever question past them.
Location: Tuesday, June 3, 6:30 p.m. in the Presidio Room
All that coding and partying means your java intake will hit all new highs during WWDC week, so why not duck into the trendiest coffee chain in San Francisco for a breather? Blue Bottle has some of the tastiest brew around and is VC-funded by the same dudes you'd love to have buy your app. Plus, there's an outpost within walking distance of Moscone Center. Be prepared to wait, though, as lines at this tiny shop can take 15 minutes or longer.
After keynotes at Moscone Center, you can often bump into off-duty Apple employees mingling
at the W Hotel bar just across the street. Devs tell us The Chieftain bar is another popular watering hole during WWDC festivities. Keep a look out for unattended iPhone prototypes.
Apple isn't expected to complete construction of its new spaceship campus until 2016. But if you want a peek at what the future holds, you can see the spot 13,000 Apple employees will call home with a quick drive-by tour of the former Hewlett-Packard grounds.
Location: 19091 Pruneridge Ave., Cupertino, California
WWDC sessions will turn even the most feeble coders into app-making powerhouses, but this year Apple is relying on the power of the Force by bringing in David Filoni -- director of Star Wars: Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels -- to talk about his journey from fan to becoming one of the key creatives at Lucasfilm.
WWDC's culminating event is not to be missed, as Apple locks down Yerba Buena Gardens with its own concert full of food, drinks and thousands of devs looking to make connections. Ok Go, Neon Trees, and Vampire Weekend have been among the list of previous performers.
Back when Apple was just Steve and Woz, the first 50 Apple 1s were assembled in the spare bedroom of this unassuming ranch house owned by Steve's parents. The operation expanded to the garage in 1975 before finding its first real office space. The iconic house is just a 10-minute drive from Apple HQ.
Coding marathons, packed parties and more fanboys than should be legally permissible in one building await developers when Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off in San Francisco next week, and while the conference is serious business for most devs, who says you can’t have a little bit of fun too?
WWDC rips into high gear with a keynote on June 2nd followed by days of coding sessions, high-profile speakers, hands-on labs and tons of get togethers for developers of all sizes and backgrounds.
Sneaking in time to tour San Francisco is nearly impossible thanks to the stuffed scheduled at WWDC and nearby AltConf, but whether you’re coming to WWDC as a first timer or a seasoned vet, here are nine things every Apple fan must do at least once while visiting the Bay Area.
Disney has announced the screenwriter-director combo who will helm the new Star Wars standalone film. The writer will be Gary Whitta, a tech nerd turned screenwriter who has written the dialogue to some of the best adventure games on the Mac and iPad. As for the director? He’s behind the number one movie at the box office right now, Godzilla.
Apple is having some fun with the mystery surrounding its upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference, updating the WWDC app to include whimsical session titles designed to give devs a chuckle even as they’re guessing what’s next.
Just about the only solid piece of information from the app update is that Tim Cook and company will kick off the annual event with a special keynote June 2 at 10 a.m. Pacific in San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Apple is expected to reveal details of iOS 8 and the next version of OS X during the address.