Today in Terrifying Drones: A Quadcopter With a Claw for Snatching

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A novel fear enters the nightmares of modern life: being snatched from above by a robot with an eagle-like talon.

Most days, American military drones engaged in combat across the world are scary enough. But some days, swarms of little drones are scarier. Other days it's drones with really, really high-resolution cameras. Or drones deployed by Homeland Security.

Today, The Verge brings word of a novel kind of drone behavior, as freaky as the last. This unmanned aerial vehicle has a claw dangling beneath it designed -- like an eagle talon -- for snatching stuff at high speed. We're talking "pickup velocities" of two to three meters per second, or 7 miles 380 miles per hour! Which is a little less terrifying.  

Take a look at the video. I don't think my anti-drone hoodie  -- or scarf -- would save me.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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