Watch: Flying robots perform pole acrobatics

Quadrocopter pole acrobatics

There are many levels of impressive technology on display in this video. Foremost are the quadrocopters themselves -- self-propelled robotic flying machines the size of a dinner plate that can soar, flip and fly in formation at the touch of a button. Behind that is the sophisticated modelling and algorithms that allow the quadrocopters to pull off these impressive maneuvers. Both those halves come together to create this startling video of two flying robots juggling a pole, tossing it end over end to each other and performing perfect catches thanks to their advanced designs and impressive mathematics.

The Flying Machine Arena of Swiss university ETH Zurich has been working with these quadrocopters for years. The arena is an experimental lab providing "a high-precision motion capture system, a wireless communication network, and custom software executing sophisticated algorithms for estimation and control."

As part of his Masters thesis, ETH Zurich student Dario Brescianini created an algorithm to allow the quadrocopters to juggle an inverted pendulum -- the pole seen in the video. The results speak for themselves.

A more in-depth look at the math behind this impressive display can be found HERE.

  • Bailey Johnson