The past few decades gave us some impressive technology displays in all areas. Augmented reality and antonomous technologies have brought entertainment to new levels that include helicopters in their repertoire. The Parrot A.R. Drone is one such example. Click for an amazing video and other information about antonomous Quadcopters playing ball with each other and a human at the ETH Flying Machine Arena in Zurich.

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You may have already seen videos of dancing drones and other amazing feats shot on video at the ETH Flying Machine Arena in Zurich. The video below shows the antonomous drones playing ball with a human and amongst themselves. Maybe someday where Mom, Dad or friends aren’t available, you’ll be able to rely on your helicopter to play ball with you instead.

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Mathematics-Driven Design Enables Robot to Juggle One or More Balls Without Sensory Input
How hard would it be to juggle a ball if you couldn’t see it or feel it? Put on a pair of gloves and try it with your eyes closed: it’s no easy task!

The Blind Juggler is a robot that can keep a ball bouncing on a paddle without any sensory input. That is, it does not use cameras, microphones, or any other sensors that tell the robot where the ball is.
In a perfect world it would not be hard to build a robot that could bounce a ball without sensory input: the robot would strike the ball with perfect motion and in perfect time, the ball would be perfectly round, and it would bounce along an identical path to exactly the same height each time. All you would need is a program to tell the robot the ideal rate at which to move the paddle up and down.
The world is not perfect, however. Balls that appear round to the eye are actually covered with tiny manufacturing defects, and even the most accurate mechanisms cannot repeat the same motion twice. The result of this imperfect world is that balls do not bounce along a perfect path – they spin, they bounce too high, too low or sideways. In other words, they deviate. And it is this deviation that makes the act of bouncing a ball without sensors such a challenge. (more information on how this technology works)

Below is an overview of the ETH Flying Machine Arena.

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A state-of-the-art platform for motion control research.
The Flying Machine Arena offers a safe, controlled sandbox environment allowing the testing and validation of mobile robots. Thanks to its large size, it allows the testing of fast-paced motions, be it on the ground or in the air. The Flying Machine Arena offers ideal conditions to test novel concepts thanks to a high-precision localization system, high-performance radio links, easy-to-use software structure, and safety nets enclosing the space (more information on the Flying Machine Arena infrastructure).

Sources: UntitledTitle, ETH Zurich

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