Drones Make Love Not War

I have two hobbies: beekeeping and building/flying multirotors or drones.  There is rarely any overlap between the two but recently I have noticed a spate of YouTube videos with titles such as:

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Harvard’s RoboBee Project

Robobee

Robobee

You may remember about one year ago, I posted a video of robotic flying  multicopters building a structure. I was so intrigued that I have built my own robotic quadcopter based on the Arducopter design with the intent of engineering a true autonomous swarm.  But more on that at a future date.  Here is RoboBees (click here) – a research project at Harvard seeking to develop mechanical structures that fly – inspired by bees and enabled by microelectronic fabrication technology. The mechanical device shown is the size of a penny but the MEMS technology could be used to build something  much smaller. The video below shows the result of the manufacturing process but they also have videos of this thing flying and are working on an optical sensor and swarm behaviors.

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Robotic Bees

Students at the GRASP (General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception) Lab at the University of Pennsylvania have succeeded in training flying helicopters to assemble simple structures. These flying robots buzz like bees, they collaborate like bees, and the structures that they build are regular and defined largely by physical constraints than some innate construction knowledge. These bee-copters may be dumb compared to the intellect of 30,000 grass seed sized bee brains but the video is pretty impressive anyway.

Video after the jump… Continue reading Robotic Bees