Unless you work at the University of Pennsylvania's GRASP Laboratory, that is. When they're not building miniature sculptures or reenacting Space Invaders, the little bots are composing music for martini hour.


This mellifluous demonstration was recently unveiled at the TED2012 Conference. Thanks to Evan Lerner from GRASP for giving us the heads up, and here's his rundown of what you're watching:

In this demonstration, the "stage" is in a room fitted with infrared lights and cameras. The nano quads all have reflectors on their struts, which allows the camera system to plot their exact position and relay that information wirelessly to each unit.

Lab members can then assign each unit a series of waypoints in three-dimensional space that must be reached at an exact time. In this case, those times and places translate into notes on a keyboard or a strum of a guitar. Figuring out how to get from waypoint to waypoint most efficiently and without disturbing their neighbors is up to the robots.


[Via UPenn]