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Could a drone be your next personal assistant – or dance partner?

By

June 3, 2013

Falkor Systems has developed a dance piece in which a human dancer performs with an autono...

Falkor Systems has developed a dance piece in which a human dancer performs with an autonomous AR Drone quadcopter

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New York City-based robotics developer Falkor Systems is working on autonomous flying robots that could fly alongside extreme athletes, shooting video of their exploits in the process. Beyond that, however, the company envisions a day in which such machines may hover around everyday people, acting as their assistants and perhaps even becoming their “friends.” In a demonstration of how such a relationship could be possible, Falkor recently used an augmented AR Drone quadcopter to take part in a modern dance performance with a human partner.

Known as the “Pet Drone Pas de Deux,” the dance piece was produced in collaboration with the Barkin/Selissen Project, a community that is looking at new ways of exploring the arts.

The AR Drone was able to detect and track the female dancer using OpenCV image detection technology. Simon Fraser University’s ardrone_autonomy software was used to control the actual Drone. Software created by Falkor utilized the Robot Operating System to act as a bridge between OpenCV and ardrone_autonomy, allowing the two systems to interface with one another – OpenCV would track the dancer, then go through the Robot Operating System to get ardrone_autonomy to move the aircraft accordingly.

“Pet Drone Pas de Deux” is apparently intended to pose the question, “When we love our rob...

Falkor is certainly not the only group exploring such uses of drones. A team from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology has turned an AR Drone into a human-jogger-tracking running companion, while tech firm Always Innovating is in the process of creating a US$49 tiny autonomous quadcopter that shoots video of its human user.

“Pet Drone Pas de Deux” can be seen below. In case you just don’t get it, it is apparently intended to pose the question, “When we love our robots, will it matter if they are human or not?”.

Source: Falkor Systems via Dvice

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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6 Comments

That's right up there as the stupidest thing I've ever seen on the internet. Dance is about emotion - didn't you notice that the RC helicopter lacked it? I don't even know what I was supposed to be looking at. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Marcus Carr
3rd June, 2013 @ 07:59 pm PDT

"In case you just don’t get it, it is apparently intended to pose the question, “When we love our robots, will it matter if they are human or not?”."

Well yes, it will matter. If we love our robots, they will by definition not be human, so of course it couldn't matter. Your question is logically unsound.

Marcus Carr
3rd June, 2013 @ 08:04 pm PDT

I think the question should be “When we love our friends/companions will it matter if they are human or not?” because as it currently reads, 'whether it's human..' doesn't fit, as a robot is automatically non-human.

Facebook User
3rd June, 2013 @ 10:10 pm PDT

I thought it was kinda dumb at first but by the end I realised it wasn't about the copter dancing it was being the cameraman. Perhaps a mechanical gyro would help steady the shots.

warren52nz
4th June, 2013 @ 01:48 pm PDT

to be a Personal assistant drone would need:

robotic arms, camera module & voice PA speaker so we can communicate. & possible tray etc

Stephen N Russell
4th June, 2013 @ 05:59 pm PDT

Falkor and Co should go with a tricopter for this type of work.

A tripcopter offers a much nicer look, especially when panning right and left.

Quads are okay for some purposes; Tricopters are best for video/film camera work.

Dan Lewis
5th June, 2013 @ 09:38 am PDT
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