Insurgents have been using armed drones to attack U.S. troops worldwide, so my co-inventor Alex Morrow and I built the DroneDefender to help protect them. It freezes enemy drones in place by disrupting radio- and satellite-control frequencies, but those airwaves are protected by the FCC, so we couldn’t just use the system—even on our own property.
That’s how we wound up at Camp Roberts, California, in 2015, conducting our very first outdoor test at a Department of Defense showcase. The plan was for Alex to stand about 1,000 meters away from me with the drone so I could use the prototype to take it down. I was hot and sweaty to begin with, and my nerves just went through the roof. I was clammy, my stomach in knots. I’m thinking, This is the first time I’m even authorized to turn this thing on, and oh god, it just shipped from Ohio to California. We have no idea what FedEx has done to it.