If you fear drones. If you are fascinated by them. If you worry that they are one step removed from George Orwell's 1984. Or if you think drones have the capacity to save lives and create economic efficiencies. 

If any of those even remotely describe you, you won't want to miss Tad McGeer's presentation at TechFestNW.

McGeer, who lives in the Columbia gorge, is both brilliant and complicated: he is part Charles Lindbergh, part civil libertarian, part pacifist, part Edison. As a pioneer in the field of what is officially called UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), he was a central part of the team that built Aerosonde, a 30-pound drone that in 1998 was the first ever to cross the Atlantic Ocean. A fascinating profile of McGeer, penned by James Pitkin for Willamette Week in 2010, describes how the Princeton and Stanford grad was driven from his own company after it was purchased by Boeing, which turned it from a developer of drones for domestic use to one that was focusing on military applications.

McGeer has since started another firm, Aerovel, and speaks around the world about the risks, myths and practical applications of drones. He will be speaking at TFNW on August 16.