DJI Spark drones require a mandatory software update

DJI Spark drones will not fly after 1 September unless owners apply a mandatory software update, the device’s maker has warned.

DJI said the update to the small drone’s core software fixes some flight control issues suffered by the gadget.

The drone maker said it had warned owners about the deadline so they could avoid having their craft grounded.

But the mandatory update has caused some owners to question the control DJI retains over their devices.

In a statement, DJI said the update would improve how the Spark manages power. It also helps it work with smart spectacles that give owners an immersive view of what the drone films.

It added: “If the firmware of either the aircraft or the battery is not updated by September 1, Spark will not be able to take off.”

The update is now available via the Go 4 management app used to configure and fly the craft as well as DJI’s Assistant 2 desktop software.

A spokesman said it issued the warning so it could be sure Spark owners took the chance to update their drone before the deadline so craft are not grounded.

Gary Mortimer, writing on drone news site SUAS News, said DJI’s demand that people apply the software had caused “consternation”.

He said performance fixes bestowed by the software were welcome but DJI’s ability to throw a kill switch to stop the device working was more “questionable”.

Earlier this month, the US Army ban serving soldiers from using DJI drones saying their use posed “operational risks”. In response, DJI drones were given a privacy mode that restricted who saw the video they shot.

Aero drones photography

The DIY globe that takes you on a pictorial tour of the world

For seasoned travellers and anyone trying to decide where to go to next , finding somewhere that ticks all the boxes is becoming more difficult . Internet information overload can dull the enthusiasm and make you wonder if it’s all worthwhile .

Step up  Caroline Buttet’s do-it-yourself solution which might offer a bit of help. OK  ,  looking at pictures of someone else enjoying themselves just reminds you of how long it is since you took a holiday yourself — but it at least makes the experience a bit more fun for the viewer.

Buttet has created an intuitive solution –  a touch-sensitive globe that displays the photos belonging to whichever country you tap. “Globe Trotter is a tangible picture viewer, especially designed to make vacation picture viewing more enjoyable,” she comments.

“It consists of an interactive globe that is linked to a computer via an Arduino, which interacts with a webpage. It allows the user to browse pictures ordered by country, by physically touching any country on the globe. The user can then spin the globe back and forth to view the images, like in a slideshow.”

Building a capacitive globe sounds like hard work. In fact, Buttet achieved the effect using a (relatively) simple hack: She stuck a thumbtack in each country, with the sharp end inside the globe connecting to a wire that links to the Arduino.

“Globe Trotter is just a proof of concept, and therefore there is still a lot of improvements that can be made,” she continued. “These include things like integration of geotags, automatic sorting of photos, and finding a way to make it wireless. I made the prototype just for fun, with no thought of commercializing it or anything like that. But lately I’ve started to get requests from people over the internet. If enough people are interested, maybe I’ll publish the code and go open source at some point.”

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