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Nano-Quadrotor Swarm: Galaxian IRL

by Paul Strauss
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There’s just something inherently cool about flying quadrotors. But I have to say this is the first time I’ve seen this many of the crafts flying in unison. Using a veritable army of flying nano-quadrotors from KMel Robotics, Alex Kushleyev, Daniel Mellinger and Vijay Kumar of the University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP Lab sent a team of tightly-coordinated to the skies in their lab.

nano_quadrotor_swarm

Each precision flying ‘bot is capable of perfectly balancing itself, but their true power is in their ability to fly in formations, and even adjust to new 3-dimensional patterns on the fly and avoid obstacles autonomously. But enough talk – seeing 20 of these nano-quadrotors in action it is truly a sight to behold:

The way they all buzz around together, they’re reminiscent of an 1980s arcade shooter, aren’t they? I’m totally thinking Galaxian or Galaga. While each one is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, I still wouldn’t want to run into this swarm in a dark alley. There is serious power in numbers. We can only hope they don’t start adding weapons to them any time soon – and they don’t connect to Skynet.

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Comments (5):

  1. shae smith says:

    How much does one of these cost ready to fly?

  2. Markus says:

    Has the U.S Armed Forces seen this yet?

  3. DARPA says:

    Future wars will look like StarCraft. Now we just need the automatic factory to build them.
    As far as arming them, no need for a complicated gun or missiles, just a little charge of C4 on the belly, when they find a target, swarm and land. POP! A softball sized hole.. or maybe a EFP for armor. or just a GPS for the big bombs to follow. endless diabolical possibilities.

  4. tonymac says:

    Not enough battery power to run them for long. Very cool demo though, I wonder how much processing is actually done on the bot, and how much is server-side.

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