Taking to the air to document a revolution


 
Everyone knows that the exercise of political power is about control of information, which is why so many (especially in the United States) lauded the Egyptian revolution as proof that Twitter and Facebook were the nuclear bombs of the information age.  But political power at its most basic is also about the control of physical space: this is why, even now, protesters face off against riot police on the streets of Cairo in a fight over territory and right of access.  The police have weapons, the protesters (when they’re lucky) have sheer numbers and moral force; most of the time, that’s an uneven battle and the police determine the lines of control and within their cordon are able to prevent documentation of their misdeeds.

Now, a number of mechanical enthusiasts and armchair engineers have taken the fairly primitive concept of the remote-controlled toy helicopter and adapted it to the revolutionary’s need to breach the line of control.  There are a number of manufacturers, but this one is the RoboKopter from Poland (the website is in Polish).  Here is what it looks like, note the camera harnessed to the undercarriage:

 

 

Here is what it does.  This video was shot in Warsaw a few months ago but it might just as well be Mohamed Mahmoud Street in Cairo:

 

 

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