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quadrotors meet sharpies (maybe)


the kid

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I watched and instantly thought 'War Of The Worlds'. Maybe someone needs to forward the link to Jeff Wayne for the upcoming tour? ;)

 

That was my thought, towards the end there is an almost "walking" bit. I can see someone using it but not sure who. The thing that is missing is the noise, if you watch any other quadrotors they are REALLY loud.

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Do they fly that well when the safety bonds are attached - I mean we insist on bonds on things held up by damn great bolts that are very unlikely to fail - yet a nice big mirror and the flying gizmo won't get through a risk assessment that asks the likelihood of it coming down and getting certainty as a response! Joking aside - It does occur to me that if somebody produced a bit of ladder truss with a rail on the bottom, and then motorised carriages carrying the moving mirrors - that would give some interesting possibilities with up down and then left-right movement - I claim the idea folks!
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Very impressive and imaginitive use of the latest technology - I though the precision of the quadcopter positioning was amazing, must have been difficult to achieve.

 

However, we all may now have to rethink the use of the word 'flying' as applied to stagecraft!

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How long until we see a rig just made up of different Pan/tilt mirrors up on the rig, and just lots of movers on the ground.

 

Gives a lovely effect though with the beam up as well as down.

 

Unsurprisingly, its the same lot from the well known GRASP lab videos!

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Is it just me or do the Movers seem to be twitching quite a bit to keep up with the mirrors? Could it be that there is some form of intelligent (if that's the right word) system tracking the mirrors and keeping the movers in the right place?

 

Josh

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Is it just me or do the Movers seem to be twitching quite a bit to keep up with the mirrors? Could it be that there is some form of intelligent (if that's the right word) system tracking the mirrors and keeping the movers in the right place?

 

Josh

 

Definitely wouldn't surprise me. They know exactly where each rotor is so its not hard to feed that back into the control system if it deviates from where it should be.

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I suspect the control system is amazingly complex - the positioning errors in the video show almost constant updating. Just think if you could have some kind of film mirror surface and a suction pump then you'd have divergence and convergence too.
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The above demo was done by the University of Pennsylvania's GRASP lab. They have been working on this kind of thing for a long time, and have published some really incredible videos.

(And a few failed attempts...)

 

They use a netting enclosure. (Which will also reduce the damage to the copter if it tries to ram the wall)

 

Given what happens to a quadcopter when a single motor or prop fails, that's the only sane way to perform this 'in public'.

- If you lose a thrust unit on a quad it will throw itself in a random direction and crash very quickly.

(Possibly under power, definitely with props spinning)

 

On some hexacopter or octocopter loss of a thrust unit can theoretically be handled, in practice nobody has done that yet - generally hex/octos use the extra thrust to carry heavier loads rather than survive losing one.

(Especially as the act of losing one could flip the copter before it can respond.)

 

As Paul said, the control systems are incredibly complex. Merely stabilising flight takes fairly powerful on-board sensors and MCU.

(Mine has gyros and a DSP, the better ones have accelerometers, sonar, optical flow and even GPS.)

 

The kind of 3D-positioning done for the above requires very accurate external location sensors - generally the same kind of computer vision system used for motion capture.

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You almost certainly can Paul, unprinted raw CD's are almost perfect mirrors, all you need is to make them thinner or coat a more flexible base. Used them as "stars" with dramatic results, temorarily blinded several members of the audience.

 

The control should be relatively straightforward positive/negative feedback loops. The mirrors on the quads look to have sensors in the centre, not that I have seen them up close.

 

PO scientists from Dollis Hill, in conjunction with Cambridge University and Pye, were doing similar automatic refocusing with lasers reflected from mirrors on the moon yonks ago. They shone a laser on a sensor which operated motors to maintain the angle of incidence/reflection. This system appears to close the loop and have information being fed both ways. (Guesswork.)

 

Where I see the next dramatic innovation is in the use of remote gaming technology for lighting design. Wave a hand above a screen, the lantern moves, squeeze two fingers and the beam alters, that sort of thing. Quads look to be more use in miltary and security roles which the laser experiments were perverted into with targetting for "smart" bombs.

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We saw a post on BR not so long ago where these quads' were acting in concert as in a swarm sort of thing.

 

All "talking" to each other, able to fly through slots, just bigger than their own dimensions at odd angles to earth normal, then land/nest on upside down ledges and stay in place with the rotors.

 

Is the R&D financed by the military...oooh, now that's a difficult one.

 

It might be amazing to see what they do via the www. for the planet at large...but, can you even begin to imagine what they can/are achieving in "Area 51" type places? Who could have predicted the use of really big model airplanes flying over Afghanistan..."piloted" by a bod on the other side of the planet?

 

I don't suppose we would see a manned version...the g turns alone would have your dinner all over the inside of your helmet.

 

I suspect it would be a case of send them the GPS data and simply turn them loose...with a nasty payload of whatever...probably so cheap you would only fuel/charge them for a one way trip. Got to be cheaper than a missile and you don't expect them back...

 

Would we see them flying over the suburbs en masse? Who can say? Might be a bit tricky explaining why your, effectively demilitarised, "toy" fell on someone's head.

 

Do I want one? Rather. Are my reflexes/reactions fast enough to fly one by remote...what do you think, ** laughs out loud **.

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