AI News, Video Friday: DRC Tasks, Quadrotor Failsafes, and Autopsy Robots

Video Friday: DRC Tasks, Quadrotor Failsafes, and Autopsy Robots

If you can't make it down there, we'll be there of course to bring you the cool stuff, but DARPA is putting some serious effort into webcasting as much as they possibly can, with multiple live streams in addition to live commentary and daily highlights from a bunch of dedicated camera crews, so there's no need to feel left out.

Pilus has an Indiegogo campaign on right now looking for just $50,000 to help them build a prototype system, and if you can afford to throw down $400,000, they'll even set one up in your backyard.

Century 21 (yes, the real estate people) has an idea that, while a more obvious piece of silliness, actually makes sense as a potentially critical piece of enabling technology:

Here's a blast from the past, a video I took at RoboDevelopment 2008 showing a cube-solving robot and a cube-solving human, Dan Dzoan, who performs a 12 second solve on camera:

It's not going to be pretty, but it is going to be survivable, meaning that losing a motor or a propeller now just means a mildly irritation instead of a really bad day:

The controller that pulls this off was developed byMark Mueller at ETH Zurich, and it'll run on existing quadcopter hardware, meaning that taking advantage of it is potentially as simple as a software upgrade, no motion capture environment required.

Having lost one (or more) propellers, the vehicle enters a continuous rotation — we then control the direction of this axis of rotation, and the total thrust that the vehicle produces, allowing us to control the vehicle’s acceleration and thus position.

Even if the vehicle can no longer produce sufficient thrust to support its own weight, this technology would still be useful: one could, for example, try to minimize the multicopter’s velocity when it hits the ground, or steer the multicopter away from dangerous situations such as water, or people on the ground.

In other words, it's a perfect task for a little tiny robot shaped vaguely like a turtle that wants to help you find sunken treasure:

The AR Drone's director mode gives you some level of autonomous control: by stringing together a series of preset movement commands, you can send the drone off as a remote cameraman.

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