Video of the Day: A Pair of Flying, Ball-Juggling Quadrocopters

The robots in this video, programmed by Zurich's Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control, are talented -- and terrifying. I can think of very few things they might be capable of that I would want them to do and lots of things I wouldn't want them to do.

This video surfaced several months ago, but didn't make it across my radar until now; it seems to be enjoying a resurgence of interest on various tech-focused websites. In it, you can see two Quadrocopters, each with the head of a badminton racket stretched across its mid-section, juggling a ball back and forth.

"[T]he ball tossed in the air is covered in retroreflective tape -- like the kind safety-conscious cyclists use at night -- to make it more easily spotted by the bots' motion-capture system," David Zax explained on Technology Review's website. "The quadrocopters are equipped with inertial sensors that help it move with the dexterity and precision needed to achieve the feats seen in the video."

The robots aren't yet perfect. If you watch the video long enough you'll see that a bad bounce sometimes throws them off. And, of course, once the ball has dropped there's no way for one of the quadrocopters to pick it back up. They still need a bit of human intervention.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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