Quadrocopters are pretty high up on our list of cool toys as it is, but a quadrocopter doing tricks? Even better. How about a whole swarm of quadrocopters buzzing around and playing real instruments?
The video below shows the University of Pennsylvania's quadrocopters playing the James Bond theme with real instruments. The video is a demonstration of how engineers at the university are creating smarter robots that are capable of moving together without crashing into each other. According to U Penn's website, members of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at U Penn have been helping scientists create smarter, faster, and more flexible robots by mimicking the swarming behavior of birds, fish, and insects. The ability to move in unison without crashing into each other or obstacles is a critical skill for robots if we ever want to use them for tasks like building structures.
"The stage in the video is fitted with infrared lights and cameras," explains U Penn's Evan Lerner. "The nano quads all have reflectors on their struts, which allows the camera system to plot their exact position and relay that information wirelessly to each unit. Lab members can then assign each unit a series of waypoints in three-dimensional space that must be reached at an exact time," he continued. "In this case, those times and places translate into notes on a keyboard or a strum of a guitar. Figuring out how to get from waypoint to waypoint most efficiently and without disturbing their neighbors is up to the robots."
Check it out for yourself, it's kind of awesome but also kind of scary: