Gisborne's 'Mad Scientist' behind a life-saving drone

Gisborne's 'Mad Scientist' behind a life-saving drone

Rural areas in New Zealand often have no internet or cellphone reception.

For some this is a mere inconvenience. For others, like search and rescue teams and forestry workers, it's a safety issue.

That could be about to change, thanks to a drone developed by Gisborne man David "the Mad Scientist" Drummond.

Mr Drummond says he named the drone Skynet "because when it's flying, the landing gear is folded up. It sort of reminds me of the Terminator."

The drone acts as a flying hotspot. Once it's in the air, it takes a microwave signal from a nearby repeater and turns it into a Wi-Fi "umbrella".

Mr Drummond says the machine could save lives.

"What I'd like it to be able to do, being out in such a rural area, is to be able to provide search and rescue and civil engineers with the ability to get signal and connectivity and therefore communication in places that previously wasn't feasible."

The Skynet's insured for $40,000 and provides 40 minutes of high-speed internet.

It was made in Mr Drummond's home office in Gisborne. That's where he also created a bionic arm, recently fitted to a woman in Malaysia and a drone to deliver coffee.

"There have been many nights when I've woken up at 4am, 5am in the morning having been asleep for half an hour and just scribble and draw and sketch any ideas that just come."

His love for creating comes from his past as a boy racer. As a teenager he thrived on playing with car engines.

He moved to the United States and was a stunt driver in The Hangover Part III before becoming a racing instructor for people wanting to drive fast fancy cars in Las Vegas.

This year he did stunt work, playing a thug in the remake of Goodbye Pork Pie.

But the focus now is getting Skynet off the ground.

"My philosophy in life is if somebody says you can't do it then it absolutely has to be done."

Watch the video for the full Story report.

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