They're called quadrocopters and they're pretty cool in a techy sort of way.
The four-rotor helicopter robots are small and agile and can be controlled so that they play games such as badminton, tennis, volleyball and ping pong.
According to wired.uk, in one recent test motion-capture cameras tracked the quadrocopters so that when a person threw a ball, it was tracked by the camera and a specially written program worked out where the ball was going to go and manoeuvred the robot to return the ball.A video of the extraordinary robotic acrobatics was made by Mark Müller, Sergei Lupashin, and Raffaello D’Andrea in the Control of Distributed, Autonomous Systems lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.Geek.com reports that the team trained a pair of their flying quadrocopters to bounce ping-pong balls between each other.They mounted the head of a tennis racket to both copters and were able to get the ball to volley between the two.According to Robots.net, the quadrocopters are based on the “Hummingbird” quadrocopter made by Ascending Technologies with new controls and custom-made electronics.The main part is a state-of-the-art Vicon motion capture system that provides the localization data to the robots, which is what makes them so precise and dynamic.
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