The world of robotics is going from strength to strength.
In other words, humanity is on its way to becoming redundant, and ‘robot apocalypse’ doesn’t sound like a good way to go.
Now prepare yourself, because the only way that autonomous robots could get more terrifying is if they could fly.
Enter the University of Zurich.
Here’s The Verge:
Drones are agile things, but they’re not exactly known for their quick reactions. If you want to knock one out of the sky, a well-thrown ball or even a spear should do the trick. Not for much longer, though, as researchers from the University of Zurich have created a drone that can autonomously dodge objects thrown at it — even at close range.
We’ll let that bit about throwing a “spear” go for now, but I do have a lot of questions.
Let’s see this thing in action.
If the sound alone isn’t enough to send you running and screaming from the room, this is what the researchers responsible for it had to say:
“We wanted to really push the boundaries and see what these robots are capable of,” University of Zurich research Davide Falanga told The Verge.
Giving drones an auto-dodge feature would be handy for a lot of use-cases. It would make drones safer, allowing them to dodge flying birds or nearby humans. It would also be helpful for military and law enforcement deployments. If you have a drone monitoring a protest, for example, being able to dodge thrown objects is a very useful skill.
Well, there goes our freedom.
And if you’re wondering how it got so damn agile, here’s the science:
The University of Zurich’s drone, though, has one big advantage over commercial quadcopters: an advanced sensor known as an event camera. While traditional cameras record a set number of frames each second and pass them on to software for processing, event cameras only send data when the pixels in its field of vision change in intensity. This means they use less data and have lower latency. In other words: a quicker response time.
Excellent. Just what the world needed.
Thankfully, most drones still remain vulnerable to anyone with a good eye and an accurate throwing arm.
I wish I’d put more effort into physical education.
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