So It’s Come To This: Baton Twirling Drones

Ok, so it’s a bit of an exaggeration to say the robots in the video above are full-fledged baton twirlers. But folks at the ETH Zurich’s Flying Machine Arena have managed to program a pair of quad-rotor drones to toss a stick to one another, with a flip in the middle. If that’s not baton twirling for bots, I don’t know what is.

Two of the most challenging problems tackled with quadrocopters so far are balancing an inverted pendulum and juggling balls. My colleagues at ETH Zurich’s Flying Machine Arena have now combined the two. As part of his Master thesis Dario Brescianini, student at ETH Zurich’s Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control, has developed algorithms that allow quadrocopters to juggle an inverted pendulum.

First, a state estimator was used to accurately predict the pendulum’s motion while in flight. Second, a fast trajectory generator was needed to quickly move the catching quadrocopter to the estimated catching position. Third, a learning algorithm was implemented to correct for deviations from the theoretical models for two key events. […]

The result is automated flying drones performing the kind of aerobatics that can only foreshadow a fiery death for mankind at the grips of a superior robotic race. It’s a worn-out cliché, sure, but you’ll understand if you watch the video.

VIA [ BoingBoing ]