When I think of flying robots, music doesn’t spring forth into my mind – it’s more rise-of-the-machines-type stuff sadly. Then again I don’t work in a robotics lab at the University of Pennsylvania – but I wish I did. The classic theme tune re-imagined is simply awesome.
The precision flying demo was put on recently for TED2012, by Pennsylvania’s GRASP Laboratory using infrared lights and cameras to track the nano quadricopters.
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. 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 neighbours is up to the robots.