UPenn’s Flying Robots Called Quadrotors=Skynet?By: Billy Thomas - February 3, 2012
Apparently there are robots preparing to take over the world; it’s a scary time and we all need to band together. Nah, just kidding, but that’d be kind of cool, right? Well, if you’re a lover of robotics and technology like I am, you’ll find this pretty cool. In a lab at UPenn, scientists taught small flying robots called quadrotors to grasp and move things, now they’re teaching the machines to grasp objects to actually build physical structures.
In the video, you can see the quadrotors working together and individually to build small structures using magnetic pieces. Keep in mind that these machines are working entirely from AI or Artificial Intelligence, which to think about is kind of creepy. Now, while building the structures, the robots are able to make micro corrections to snap each piece into place magnetically, which shows their rather impressive intelligence.
Think about this: What if these quadrotors could be built on a grander scale to construct actual buildings in the real world? That’d be pretty cool, right? It’s very possible to do, in fact, the scientists at GRASP or General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception say it’s quite possible to build much larger quads and even build several of the smaller ones to work in large teams to build real world physical structures. I know what you’re thinking, “this is the beginning of Skynet”, well as far as helpful and real world applicable technology, this isn’t Skynet, but it’s funny to think about the similarities between the quadrotors and the Skynet Hunter Killer flying machines.
Each quadrotor weighs just barely over a pound and can deliver a thrust of a little over 2.5 pounds. Swarm robotics; quadrotors working together in swarms is also a tactic displayed in the video. With this ability, the robots can easily work together, with enough units, to lift a heavy objects. If you think about it, swarm robotics would be a little more beneficial while building than an individual quad. If a mechanical failure occurs in the swarm, you still have the rest of the bots to carry the slack, while a failure in a single quad could be very dangerous. Nevertheless, this technology is astonishing and if applied to real world construction, could certainly be mind-blowing to view.