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Perching AR Drone Can Watch You Forever

Claws and a controlled stall let this flying robot perch just like a bird

1 min read
Perching AR Drone Can Watch You Forever
Image: Vishwa Robotics

There's a reason that birds perch: flying is a lot of work, and until we teach our drones to survive off of hopes and dreams, we're (nearly, and nearly again) always going to have to deal with severe restrictions on flight time, especially when hovering. Drones have been working on perching for years as a method to extend their usefulness for stationary surveillance, and this modified AR Drone takes inspiration from falcons with some custom legs, claws, and feet. 

We don't get a lot of visual detail beyond this (admittedly kind of terrible) video, but according to New Scientist, Vishwa Robotics, in Brighton, Mass., designed these perching legs with actuated feet equipped with sharp little claws. The drone approaches a landing point, performs a controlled stall, and actuators cause the feet to grip as the drone shuts down its motors. Once the perch is complete, the drone can sit there without expending any energy at all.

What this video doesn't show is that the drone can apparently "waddle short distances, so the drone can explore indoor spaces." And the AR Drone use case is just a proof of concept, and eventually, these legs are intended to be added to a variety of small drones.

[ Vishwa Robotics ] via [ New Scientist ] and [ Gigaom ]

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
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A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof
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In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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