Podcast - Adam Savage Project

Adventuring with Eric Cheng – 10/14/2014

This week, Adam, Will, and Norm are joined by Eric Cheng, whose adventures take him around the world. This time, he tells stories about flying drones and shooting video inside Iceland’s Bárðarbunga volcano. Enjoy!

Comments (26)

26 thoughts on “Adventuring with Eric Cheng – 10/14/2014

  1. Interesting that RF issues were what prevented getting too close; I was thinking the reduced density of the hot air would have been the gotcha.

  2. I wonder if you could fly one behind a waterfall if the dimensions were right?

    Side note, I work for a company that does electronic security management systems in prisons and they are worried about drones being used to get contraband into the prison. We even got asked about using radar around the perimeter. I tried to explain it would be complete overkill and a massive waste of money when they could just stick stuff in a tennis ball and hit/throw it over the fence (a current favourite method).

    With all the stuff in the media and so forth the average person seems to be going from fascinated to terrified of these things at the moment.

  3. So I thought “Hmm. Wide-angle lenses make things look farther away than they really are. Wow. He’s flying pretty close.” And then he showed the melted camera. “Yup.”

  4. Would it be possible for Eric to pen an article for the site? Flying tips, stories, whatever. He’s got some awesome experience, and also sounds like a great artist too, would be awesome to hear more from him.

    As for bucket list shooting, Sydney harbour New Years eve, fireworks. Awesomesauce.

  5. Very interesting and I think this is a great variation of the podcast production. Excerpts of Cheng’s footage and hearing of his ongoing adventures. One place where I think he should try to visit is Shiprock in New Mexico – it’s near Monument Valley and the famous meteorite crater.

  6. Nice Video!. I’m a geologist student and use those drones to make video footage and pictures, i use the pictures to make a 3D model in Agisoft Photoscan , and then i 3D print it in full color for geological survey. check 3Drobotics web-shop. (www.skydrone.aero/fpv) sells cameras that can be used with the Oculus rift. The game of drones airframe is amazing, i use it every time!

  7. Volcano fancier here (?) – I’m not 100% sure, but I think the condition that would “shorten your lifespan” from breathing in the silica particles is called Hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthropathy or Marie’s Disease. The nutshell version is it causes thickened bone-growth and clubbing and is commonly seen in animals that have breathed in the ash from a volcanic eruption. As you know, volcanic ash isn’t ash per sè, it’s glass, basically.

  8. Niagara Falls, they could do a shoot there. Stand on the observation platform, and fly it down and around the falls.

    You could also hook up with Nik Wallenda for one of his walks. Put a tracker on him, and have the drones tethered to him so they follow him exactly. Maybe do the Occulus Rift thing so he uses the 3rd person view to do the walk. Give him something that lets him switch between a drone behind and one in front of him or something.

    Maybe try to get footage of a glacier calving.

  9. A sailplane/glider would be great for Occulus Rift – specifically if you are interested in thermals and advanced aerodynamics, but I can’t imagine that Occulus Rift will be able to replicate the experience…

  10. This was such a great video! Thank you so much!

    I also want to echo another commenter. A guest post would be super fantastic (if he even has time to write… which sounds like he may not…)

    Would it be possible for Eric to pen an article for the site? Flying tips, stories, whatever. He’s got some awesome experience, and also sounds like a great artist too, would be awesome to hear more from him.

    I love it that we’re all so nerdy here 🙂 Keep testing!

  11. Hey guys.

    The pulmonary effects of volcanic ash vary, and depend on the volcano (likely its specific mineral content) and the patient (including any preexisting pulmonary disease). Moreover, there are few studies of this, owing to the limited number of useful cases. There was a flurry of papers after Mt St Helens, and more since. Horwell et al in “The respiratory health hazards of volcanic ash: a review for volcanic risk mitigation” say the main effect is silicosis, which is a common disease usually due to environmental exposure (such as sand blasting). I always thought of Silicosis as an interstitial disease, with a restrictive pattern on PFT, but I see on a quick search that PFT’s show a mixed restrictive and obstructive response. Still, it is a progressive chronic disease that is largely irreversible and leads to an interstitial fibrosis.

  12. Very nice article!

    We have been developing UAVs for the past year that are designed to intercept tornadoes and gather data for meteorologists and engineers. Our UAVs are designed to be disposable, but are coupled with a sensor package that is designed to withstand the harsh environment inside the tornado. We will be able to provide meteorologists and engineers with a 3-Dimensional data set that has never been seen before. As a result, tornado warnings will be improved, a long with structures in tornado prone areas!

    We have launched our Kickstarter project that you can view here:


  13. If you want to see what it’s like flying….in a glider, there is a film called “Silent Sky”, one of the early IMAX Films that is basically an IMAX camera mounted beneath a glider soaring. It’s really like flying.



    (Full disclosure, my great uncle Findlay Quinn ran Quinn Laboratories, which if I remember right, did the sound for the film, and won an award for it…)

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