Watch Tiny Drones Cooperate to Play Catch

More

These days flying quadrocopters basically guarantee viral video success; they've already played the James Bond theme and performed in a dazzling light show. Recently, researchers at the Flying Machine Arena at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have programmed three quadrocopters to throw and catch a ball with a net. As you can see about one minute into the video below, the drones use iterative learning to get better (note the sad "wah wah wah" sound effect when they fail). At the end of the video, they throw a GoPro video camera around so you can experience the nauseating perspective of the ball. Robin Ritz, Mark W. Müller, Markus Hehn, and Raffaello D'Andrea collaborated on the project.

With 1,000 cubic meters of space and a padded floor, the Flying Machine Arena seems like a kind of preschool romper room for drones

The Flying Machine Arena offers a safe, controlled sandbox environment allowing the testing and validation of mobile robots. Thanks to its large size, it allows the testing of fast-paced motions, be it on the ground or in the air. The Flying Machine Arena offers ideal conditions to test novel concepts thanks to a high-precision localization system, high-performance radio links, easy-to-use software structure, and safety nets enclosing the space.

A key to the quadrocopters' coordinated orientation in space is a motion-capture system of eight cameras that "provide millimeter-accuracy localization." So for now, it seems like the little swarm won't be escaping to come after you (yet). 

For more videos from the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control, visit the YouTube channel

Via It's Okay to Be Smart

Jump to comments

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Do People Love Times Square?

A filmmaker asks New Yorkers and tourists about the allure of Broadway's iconic plaza


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Why Do People Love Times Square?

A filmmaker asks New Yorkers and tourists about the allure of Broadway's iconic plaza

Video

A Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier

Video

What Do You Wish You Learned in College?

Ivy League academics reveal their undergrad regrets

Video

Famous Movies, Reimagined

From Apocalypse Now to The Lord of the Rings, this clever video puts a new spin on Hollywood's greatest hits.

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Video

Just In