Quadrocopters are pretty cool -- there's no doubt about that, but a student at ETH Zurich's Institute for Dynamic Systems and Controls has taken it to a completely new level. Dario Brescianini programmed two small quadrocopters to perform stunts and balance poles, as well as toss poles to one another without a hitch.
The two quadrocopters have small plates on top in order to catch the pole (called an inverted pendulum in this case). A lot of math went into figuring out the different algorithms needed for throwing the pole to the other quadrocopter safely and efficiently. However, a motion-capture system and wireless networking throughout the room helped out with that.
Essentially, Brescianini needed to figure out the exact positions, speeds, and angles that the two quadrocopter needed in order to perform the stunt. From there, it was just a matter of pressing the big green button and watching it all unfold. Of course, though, there were many factors that were a concern initially, including how the pole behaves while airborne, which is something that Brescianini had no control over, obviously.
In the end, the experiment took a lot of trial and error, but the end result is a beautiful acrobatic dance between the two quadrocopters, balancing a long pole amongst the two. We have to say that it's certainly impressive, and it's way better than watching the same remote control aircrafts doing synchronized dancing.
[via Shmahat Ma]