Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Meet the Band

After last night's nightmare involving metal scraping against bones--yes, I got my teeth cleaned yesterday--I probably didn't need to start the day with a video of small drones teaming up to play the James Bond theme.  (It's the third video embedded in the article--the one labeled "Vijay Kumar:  Robots that fly . . . and cooperate.")

This--the use of autonomous drone swarms--is one of the more important new developments in military robotics.  And by that I don't mean we'll soon see military bands replaced by quadrotors playing specially modified musical instruments at inaugural balls.  Instead, consider the current challenge posed for the International Aerial Robotics Competition:  Teams must design a flying robot capable of silently entering a building through a window, finding a designated office inside, locating and taking a USB flash drive from a desk, and replacing the flash drive with another that looks like it.

That's what I'd call a practical application.