Drones thrill Martha Stewart... and US prison convicts

Jul 31, 2014

Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart is singing the praises of personal drones and marveling at their untapped potential—although smuggling contraband into a prison might not be what she has in mind.

In an essay for Time magazine, the 72-year-old entrepreneur and domestic goddess confessed to being "hooked" on small drones since getting a camera-equipped model for her birthday and flying it over a beach in Maine.

"My mind started racing and I imagined all the different applications for my drone," said Stewart, who has since used her Parrot device to capture a bird's eye view of a party, a mountain hike and her landscaped gardens.

"It is hard to imagine Andre Le Notre laying out... the magnificent Chateau de Versailles (with) no drone to show him the complexities of the terrain," she added, citing the celebrated 17th century French landscape architect.

In South Carolina, meanwhile, the state Department of Corrections asked the public for help Thursday in identifying a second suspect in a failed attempt to airlift contraband into a prison filled with hardened criminals.

Mobiles phones, marijuana and tobacco made up the illicit payload of the small drone that crashed before it could get inside of the Lee Correctional Institution, which houses about 1,000 convicts.

It was discovered in bushes in April, and one person has already been take in into custody. But the case only went public this week as law enforcement released surveillance images of a potential second suspect.

"This is definitely a new and interesting way" to smuggle contraband into a prison, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Stephanie Givens told AFP by telephone.

In November last year, four people were arrested in Georgia after a sharp-eyed prison guard spotted a small being used to ferry two pounds (nearly one kilogram) of tobacco to waiting inmates.

Despite a growing number of small drones in American skies, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says their use for anything other than personal purposes is illegal, pending the adoption of fresh regulations.

Explore further: NYC police see risks with drones' popularity

Related Stories

US aviation agency to appeal drone ruling

Mar 08, 2014

The US aviation agency said Friday it will appeal the dismissal of a $10,000 fine it imposed on a Swiss entrepreneur who flew a drone over a college campus to make a commercial.

Recommended for you

Robot walker for elderly people in public spaces

May 22, 2015

Elderly people with walking difficulties are often intimidated by busy public places. This led an EU research project to develop a robot walker to guide them around shopping centres, museums and other public ...

Standard knowledge for robots

May 20, 2015

What do you know? There is now a world standard for capturing and conveying the knowledge that robots possess—or, to get philosophical about it, an ontology for automatons.

A folding drone that's ready for takeoff in a snap

May 20, 2015

Thanks to the power of its rotors, this fold-up quadrotor extends its articulated arms and takes off in a fraction of a second. This prototype will be viewed by specialists on May 25 at the International ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.