Hurricane drone

Remember the movie "Twister," when (spoiler alert!) scientists released hundreds of sensors into a tornado to gather wind speed data? That technology actually exists for hurricanes.

The University of Florida has created a miniature robotic weatherman that can be launched into a hurricane to determine the direction a storm is likely to travel -- something weather forecasting models are notoriously bad at. Dozens of the university's palm-sized drones can be launched at once, safely sending sensory data back down to the ground.

NASA is also in the hurricane drone business, though at a much larger scale. The agency has a drone that can fly for 30 hours at 35,000 feet to determine how strong a hurricane will be when it lands ashore and where it is most likely to hit. The unmanned aircraft is the size of a tiny plane -- it was formerly used by the U.S. military for reconnaissance missions.

First published December 2, 2013: 1:43 PM ET

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