Spectacular photos – the drone has a camera on top… which is unusual for drones. Seems odd that they’ve left a tripod adaptor on top as well. If that’s what it is. Interesting that they brought it down with a jammer though. I would have used a crossbow, but then I’m a traditionalist.
There are a bunch of them on Kickstarter at the mo…. the price of them is coming down fairly dramatically – much the same as 3D printers did… but I’m guessing like printers (and PCs), (and DSLRs), there will be a “state of the art” price level around $1k (with $20k for pros), because that’s what the market will stand.
The kickstarter ones are:
Neither of which are waltzing home yet – the latter one’s USP is that it’s water-proof… or will be. Getting there though. I like these things.
From here, which is a fairly good example of the way technology is evolving too big/fast/diverse to keep track of any more.
Mind you – at the beginning of this, the dude says “the goal is to reproduce the amazing capabilities of insects”…
… so let’s take a wasp for example, it can:
– self-fuel using energy from its environment
– see (smell touch balance taste? hear?)
– self-replicate using ingredients from its environment
– organise into swarms
– fight (teeth, poison)
– fly, with amazing stability, for long periods
– 3D print nests using ingredients from its environment
– run about the place being a pest
and about a hundred equally miraculous things*. I’d say we’ve got a way to go yet – in fact as I keep saying, it’s probably going to be easier just to reprogram the wasps than to try to make one ourselves.
I was going to put “evolve” into that list, but that’s so fundamental to any replicating / competing architecture, that it’s a bit redundant. Evolution isn’t a skill, it’s a side-effect.
Oh yea… “Search and Rescue“. Bless. We still don’t really know what these things are for
That’s pretty cool – they throw a camera around at the end.
That’s you. You’re the camera. Seeing things from a ball’s-eye POV, via the network.
I’d like to know how the learning-algorithm works. I’ve been tinkering with this today… teaching an arduino to control a motor to point a sensor at a light (little baby steps). It’s easy enough to mathematically control the thing, but it would be a lot more interesting to genetically algorithmically control it.
Here’s a microcopter learning to do a triple flip
Unfortunately, there are links to the algorithms (or at least the theory) to do this here, and it might as well be in Klingon.
Although I do get a very strong feeling that if you have sufficient motors, and sufficient stabilising gear… you could probably fly an empty pizza box.
Here’s my prediction – eventually (soon), smartphone controlled kits will come out, and there will be a wave of people making really cool (or not) customised versions. Like re-skinning an application or whatever. In a way, that’s what this 3D printed version is doing – but it also requires a lot of knowhow getting the electronics to work.
So many other people have gone on about this already that it seems kindof redundant… still, as I appear to be charting the progress of these things, here it is.
It’s like space-invaders come to life.
I’d be interested to know whether they’re truly autonomous, or whether they’re being controlled by the room – there seems to be a fair few sensors round the walls… which would suggest to me that this isn’t true swarm behaviour… it’s more like a multi-bodied single organism. Like The Borg.
Well, my latest kickstarter “investment” looks set to be a record-breaker.
At 8am this morning I received their first update email… which said “Woohoo! We made our target!”… 5 hours later, they’ve doubled it… and they have 30 days to go.
So far on kickstarter I have funded:
1) extruded Aluminum rollers – for CNC machines and Camera Sliders
2) a smartphone controlled robot
3) a universal smartphone to tripod attachment
4) a recycle plastic to make feedstock for 3D printers machine
5) a floating ecosystem/machine to create biofuels
6) open source, web-based video-editing software.
7) indestructable, modular earbuds
On indiegogo I also punted $100 to Jeniferever
I’ve also punted money to Wikileaks, and The Real News Network. I think that covers it. If America decides to <airquotes>call</airquotes> wikileaks a terrorist organisation, than I have materially aided terrorism and can be deported/imprisoned etc… but then so can a lot of people, and really, the only way out of this one is for everyone to go into Spartacus mode… everyone donate.
Still… two of the things I’ve donated to in the list above were just $1 – because I think they’re interesting projects and want to be kept on the mailing list. Of the things where I’ve pre-ordered… the only thing that’s turned up is a T-Shirt from Jeniferever… which is fair enough, since I gave them $100 and it was me that suggested they go on indiegogo in the first place.
As to the others? The roller-bearings should have been here ages ago. I’ve talked the bloke… apparently as I’m a donor, I should jump to the top of the queue…. still… vaiting vaiting vaiting. In the time that it’s taken this thing not to turn up, someone else (who did apparently get what they asked for) has made an entire 3D printer.
I’m not impressed with turnaround times… even if these things are still in development. I can remember when the standard mail-order delivery time was 28 days. Every magazine that had adverts for mail-order had 28 days as a standard policy. Amazon.com kicked that one right out the window. Now it’s A-fucking-SAP. I’ve ordered things off Amazon UK and had them turn up in the letterbox the next day. For my own mail-order stuff, I try to get them out the door same day that the order comes in. I find it really stressful having to wait 10 days for parts to turn up (If I’ve run out). It looks to me as though crowd-sourced funding could do with the same kick up the arse that Amazon gave mail-order. I know development takes time, but it doesn’t take that much time.
So… Kickstarter. Not a good way to do your shopping.
In terms of investment? If they make this helicopter, then the whole thing is worth every penny… in fact if any of these things come off then it’s worth every penny… but particularly the helicopter.
ps: And Kickstarter STILL doesn’t have an RSS feed even though I’ve told them twice that they need one – and their navigation is kindof crap… all about “staff recommendations” and “popular”. I’m not interested in “staff recommendations” or “popular”. I’m only interested in every single new thing that turns up, preferably filterable by category, and I don’t want to have to manually revisit their site looking for updates. That’s last-fucking century – so instead of finding new things through their site, I’m reliant on other people’s blogs, and twitter.
So that’s today’s complaining out of the way.
So it looks like the reason that Kickstarter pulled this project is not (as I’d thought) that they took fright at the legalities, but because the people involved were quite possibly bullshit-artists.
Which is a shame. Still. There you go. The excoriating eye of the internet is a tough one to fool once it’s got you in its sights.
I expected the robots to be hyper-self-conscious about the other robots criticising their work, and so becoming a overcritical themselves so tensions built up and built up, and a single misjudged comment set off a huge quadracopter fight and when the people in the lab-coats came in the the next morning there’s loads of quadracopter feathers everywhere and all of them are gone except for one fat one.
I can see how these things would be invaluable on either side – being Kettled? No problem – there’s 10000 of us and only 400 of you. I bet repressive regimes like England or America make them illegal. I bet we wind up with anti microcopter microcopters (or jets or jammers or whatever). That’s what happened with planes… firstly they were used only as surveillance… then as “nuisance-bombers”… then for fighting other planes… and then as a primary tactical piece on the board. It’s a kind of inevitable progression… from herbivore to predator.
I think it’s really interesting that this first one of these flying over a protest (in one country at least) is not in fact owned by the forces of old and evil… but by someone else. An entrepreneur? A hobbyist?
I had kindof imagined that these were going to be used for tourism… that you’d be able to hire one in Prague… sitting at home in (where ever it is) and cruise about looking at the sights etc. I guess we have better things to do. Still… welcome to Poland… cobbled streets, old buildings etc. God I miss Europe.
And you know… if you can hire these… in “trouble spots”, journalism is never going to be the same again – which is no bad thing. Mind you – if you could hire these in “trouble spots”, then there’s nothing to say that they couldn’t be armed, and joining in. In the 1930s people from the UK went to fight the fascists in Spain. Armchair-drones may allow us to do the same thing again – without getting out of our armchairs.