Researchers, Hobbyists Developing Flying Grasping Robots
Last week, we brought you a bunch of different videos of aerial grasping robots, including robots from DARPA, UPenn, and Yale. Perhaps in response (or just because it's really freakin' cool), we've had a couple people write in with flying grasping robots of their own, including researchers from University of Twente in the Netherlands, and a scruffy-looking hobbyist from Trossen Robotics.
This first vid comes from the University of Twente, in the Netherlands. It's part of the AIRobots project, the goal of which is ::deep breath:: "to develop a new generation of aerial service robots capable to support human beings in all those activities which require the ability to interact actively and safely with environments not constrained on ground but, indeed, freely in air."
This particular AIRobot is being developed by professor Stefano Stramigiol, Raffaella Carloni, postdoc Matteo Fumagalli and Ph.D. student Abeje Y. Mersha.
[ AIRobots ]
It's kind of amazing how, just in the last few years, plummeting hardware costs and skyrocketing capabilities (which together are enough to give any sane roboticists severe motion sickness) have enabled the group of geniuses that we like to call "hobbyists" keep more or less up with just about whatever the latest research is, at least when it comes to the hardware itself.
I designed a modified PhantomX Hexapod and we built it out of carbon fiber so it'd be light enough to fly. Some friends at Mad Lab Industries are quadcopter gurus so building the rest of the custom hexacopter was a breeze.
Maybe a breeze for you guys, but coming up with what is essentially a hexacopter duct-taped to a hexapod that works is no small feat, as far as we're concerned. Check it:
Developing robots that can fly and move along the ground has been a priority for the military for a while, because flying robots are versatile but suck down batteries like nobody's business, while ground robots are, well, stuck on the ground. While perhaps not the most efficient of compromises, the hexapodocopter is (let's face it) pretty sweet, and there has to be some potential there just for that reason. So if anyone from DARPA is reading this, how 'bout tossing these guys some grant money to see what they can come up with?