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Quadrotors perform James Bond theme

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March 1, 2012

Some of the musically-gifted GRASP quadrotors

Some of the musically-gifted GRASP quadrotors

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When we last heard from the University of Pennsylvania's General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab, researchers there had provided video of a swarm of quadrotor robots, which they had programmed to perform some pretty impressive precision flying. Well, now the GRASP quadrotors are back, performing a feat that's certainly much more ... entertaining. In a video that was presented yesterday at the TED2012 conference in California, a group of the little guys are shown performing the James Bond theme on musical instruments.

The quadrotors performed in a room that was equipped with infrared lights and cameras. Reflectors on the struts of each robot reflected the light to the cameras, which allowed the system to determine each quadrotor's exact position within the room. That information was then relayed wirelessly back to the robots, to make them aware of their own location, and those of the other robots.

The GRASP quadrotors performed in a room equipped with infrared lights and cameras

In order to perform the music, each quadrotor had been assigned a set of waypoints in three-dimensional space, each one of which they had to reach at a precise point in time. While those coordinates had been programmed in by human operators, it was up to each robot to determine how to reach its waypoints on time, without disturbing the other units.

While the video below is certainly fun to watch, the exercise performed in it is aimed at improving the quadrotors' performance in much more practical applications. By learning how to get jobs done while staying out of each others' way, the robots could be better able to perform duties such as surveying disaster sites, establishing wireless communications relays, or even building structures.

Source: University of Pennsylvania via IEEE Spectrum

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
8 Comments

My kind of goofy! Now, where's the rail gun for the final cymbals crash?

Jim Parker
1st March, 2012 @ 11:59 am PST

That's awesome and cheesy and awesome!

Ross William Mcewen-Page
1st March, 2012 @ 05:56 pm PST

Sometimes it takes a while for society to see what is in front of them that will make a big difference if they open up their minds.

I have seen these vehicles perform different task and all very well. I think now is the time for some big sponsor to back a more practical size machine and then society will cop on to what these vehicles are capable of doing in the real size world.

Gerard.

Gerard58
2nd March, 2012 @ 01:00 am PST

Cute!

Rokdun Johnson
2nd March, 2012 @ 02:20 am PST

Well, I believe they saw the video in this thread and accepted the challenge.



Christo Alberts
2nd March, 2012 @ 04:38 am PST

So heart-warming to watch. :)

Fretting Freddy the Ferret pressing the Fret
2nd March, 2012 @ 09:48 am PST

Military monsters, intended for the destruction of human privacy, freedoms, and life; being "cute".

solutions4circuits
2nd March, 2012 @ 10:57 am PST

Now make some good music!

donwine
2nd March, 2012 @ 02:06 pm PST
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