On Silent Wings

National Geographic Channel  Breakthrough, Season 2
Narrator: JK Simmons
National Geographic/Imagine/Asylum Production 

Each episode is 50 minutes in length
6 Episodes in this series
Episode Four: Game Of  Drones 

The word “drone” used to mean someone dull or robotic, or doing something boring. Not now or forevermore, as drones are the new mechanical devices to aid people from checking on crops to finding lost people to warfare. The drone is everywhere, and may, in the future, deliver packages to your front door. No tipping, please. 

In the latest episode from National Geographic Channel, we get to see two versions of drones and how their use is being determined. Dr. Vijay Kumar from the University of Pennsylvania, has his students think of ways drones can be used peacefully, and they are called “smart robots,” placing them in the robotic field. The drones are programmed to go from one place to another, and if there is an obstacle in the path, to “sense” it and go around it. In essence, they are positioning their velocity and their own trajectory. Also, the drones can track moving objects, so if Fido leaves the yard, he is tracked. Drones of this type can also be used in search and rescue, and can go in areas when man takes hours to navigate. I don't know how drones could help in bad weather with lightning or blizzard conditions, but I'm sure someone, somewhere is working on it. 

On the other hand, Dr. Michael Balazs works with drones as Attackers (color red) and Defenders (color blue). His students use drones as games in a type of warfare in which you don't destroy, but follow and find the other person. Right now, the games are done only on military bases. However, a harrowing experience in Japan, with a dangerous drone landing near an important Japanese building, was cause for concern.  

In the film, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, there is a comment about  “...in a knife fight...no rules.”  There don't appear to be rules in current drone management, either. Drones are for sale around the country and a step up from the controlled cars that kids play with on their driveways.  They can be fun, or deadly, and this episode shows the realities of drones.  So if you are walking in your favorite city park, look up occasionally, that may not be a bird following you, it maybe someone’s drone. The Game of Drones is like a chess game, you want to be the winner. 

Direction, cinematography and music are excellent. 

Breakthrough: Season 2 is produced by National Geographic/ Imagine and Asylum. The series will run on television in 172 countries and in 43 languages. The six episodes are “Addiction: A Psychedelic Cure” narrated by Mike Colter and shown on May 2, 2017, “Cyber Terror” narrated by Barry Pepper and shown on May 9, 2017, “Curing Cancer” narrated by Sheila Vand and shown on May 16, 2017, “Game of Drones” narrated by JK Simmons and shown on May 23, 2017, “Predicting the Future” narrated by Aaron Eckhart and shown on May 30, 2017 and “Power to the People” narrated by Chris Pine and shown on June 6, 2017. For more information see www.nationalgeographic.com or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Linkedin and Pinterest. 


Copyright 2017 Marie Asner