The GRASP Lab at the University of Pennsylvania is a perennial PopSci favorite. Yeah, yeah, we've all seen robotic quadcopter drones before. But these tiny, so-called "nano quadrotors" are kind of blowing my mind right now. Dial the video below up to about 0:40 and you'll see why.
We've written extensively about "swarming" robots before, but this is a serious swarm if we've ever seen one--right down to the high-pitched cacophony of rotors that sounds eerily like a hive of bees moving en masse. But it's the way these nano quadrotors swarm--seemingly aware of each other and of each individual's place in space--that's truly fascinating.
Perhaps it's somewhat hyperbolic, but seeing the ease and grace with which these things move in and out of formation, negotiating obstacles and ducking seamlessly between each other as they execute a figure eight really tickles the fanciful, sci-fi-friendly part of the brain. GRASP Lab creations have already shown us how quadcopters can work together to manipulate objects and even build structures together. The idea of looping more than a dozen of these things together--as we see in the video below--and putting them to work on complex projects makes this kind of precision performance feel very much like the future.
I adore watching these guys! These helicopter robots are just so COOL! Applause! Applause! They could easily make a road show. It is a lot of fun to watch! Applause!!!
Science sees no further than what it can sense.
Religion sees beyond the senses.
The possible applications are almost infinite! Agriculture, construction, exploration, military, and of course fun! Wow, I can't wait to see what people come up with for swarms of micro-machines.
"One can resist the invasion of armies; one cannot resist the invasion of ideas."
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Mesmerizing yet terrifying.
The way I see it... the difference between a computers brain "cpu" and that of a humans is only about 100,000 years of "evolution"
If computers technology continues to improve at the current rate (moores law), I doubt it will be 99,950 years before they are intelligent to the same level as humans. Assuming a better source of power (give it 100k years and I am sure massive wireless power will not be a problem) a quadcopter would be a great "body" for an army of robots.
Multi-copters have an impressive payload to weight ratio (especially if you go beyond 4 rotos to 6 or 8) and can fly extremely fast with incredible maneuverability (especially if controlled by a computer).
Add weapons, mechanisms to pick up objects, a communication grid, and 100k years worth of technological advancements and you could certainly create either a very useful fleet of robots or a very deadly foe
SO AWESOME !!! ^^
bored? lets go mine the stars... ^^
They sound kind of angry when grouped together like that. he figure 8 was awesome! I am sure there are many practical used for quad copters, especially when working in a swarm like that. I can see search and rescue uses, military and policing uses. Of course my first idea wasn't so socially responsible, I want to play a game. So when can I get a box of these little guys programmed to play games. Space Invaders anyone?
I bet they could turn a nice profit if they started selling these. I'd buy some.
Science always asks "can we," but doesn't seem to ask "should we."
All I know is when my brain gets hooked up to computers directly, I want a swarm of these. Don't fight the robots, join them. That shouldn't be a problem for you, Robot...
-Spouting a fountain of nonsense since 1995-
The coolest thing ever was when they changed formation and also when they went through the window.
I envision a futuristic movie of
“Robotic Helicopter Apocalypse NOW!”
See life in all its beautiful colors, and
from different perspectives too!
I Love watching these guys! SO AWESOME! Man, i gotta get a couple of those!