Professor Vijay Kumar is the Deputy Dean for Education in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, where he is doing his work in robotics, blending computer science and mechanical engineering to create the next generation of robotic wonders.
Vijay Kumar and his team members Daniel Melligner and Alex Kushleyev from GRASP (General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception) Labs presented these flying robots (AKA Robot Quadrotors) during his speech at TED 2012.
Kumar and his team also shown a video of the lab’s quadrotors in action during his TED Talk, doing something they have never done before:
Flying Robot Quadrotors Performing James Bond Theme
Professor Vijay Kumar and its team’s Flying robot quadrotors performed the James Bond Theme by playing various instruments including the keyboard, drums and maracas, a cymbal, and the debut of an adapted guitar built from a couch frame. The quadrotors play this “couch guitar” by flying over guitar strings stretched across a couch frame; plucking the strings with a stiff wire attached to the base of the quadrotor. A special microphone attached to the frame records the notes made by the “couch guitar”.
These flying quadrotors are completely autonomous. It means the humans are not controlling them; rather they are controlled by a computer, infra-red lights and cameras which are programmed with instructions to play the instruments. the flying robots are designed to mimick the swarming behaviors of birds, fish and insects. Figuring out how to move in unison without crashing into obstacles, or one another, is a critical skill for robot teams to develop, especially since they may one day be used to survey landscapes, build structures, provide support, or even play music.
Flying Robot Quadrotors in Action Video
Each quadrotor weighs just barely over a pound and can deliver a thrust of a little over 2.5 pounds. Team members of Professor Vijay Kumar, Alex Kushleyev and Daniel Mellinger has formed a company called KMel Robotics that will design and market these quadrotors.