Today is July fourth, when we here in the States celebrate the day that George Washington surrendered Fort Necessity to the French. Hrm, maybe that's not right... Are we celebrating the day that the French gave us the Statue of Liberty? No? Maybe it's celebrating the day that we bought the Louisiana territory from the French. Well, in any case, July fourth may or may not involve the French, but it definitely involves things exploding, so today we're going to check out a bunch of robots and fireworks.To start, that top pic is one of the orbs of Orb Swarm that someone decided to stick some fireworks in while it was rolling around at Burning Man.
Cy Brown mounted a first person video system on an R/C aircraft and equipped it with remotely launched weapons to defend itself from anti-aircraft fireworks.
Time for the drones to fight back, this time against balloons filled with hydrogen. Lots more info on this project here.
This is an excellent example of what not to do with robots and fireworks, and as such, the video won Sparkfun's 2010 Antimov competition.
And we'll finish off with this helpful tutorial on how to build yourself a little Lego NXT robot that can light fireworks for you.
Have a safe and fun fourth of July from all of us here at Automaton!
Evan Ackerman is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and technology. He has a degree in Martian geology and is excellent at playing bagpipes.