Flying robots play James Bond Theme on real instruments (video)


In today’s edition of pointless-but-awesome, we have another video from the ingenious folks at the University of Pennsylvania’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) laboratory. GRASP produces some of the nation’s most innovative robotics research. And they’ve already impressed us/scared our pants off once with their swarm of militaristic nano quadrotors. So, what have they whipped up this time? Why, a band of musical flying robots, of course!

Designed by engineers Daniel Mellinger and Alex Kushleyev, these robotic quadrotors have been programmed to play the James Bond Theme with the help of some modified instruments, and some nifty add-ons.

The robots were all pre-programmed to perform their individual maneuvers, which are carried out using a set up of infrared lights and cameras that track each quadrotor’s exact position in all three dimensions.

“Setting up the performance took about 36 hours, all done this past weekend,” says Kurtis Sensenig, the video’s producer, in an email to Digital Trends. “The final shots were done at 6am, after working for 20 hours straight setting it up.”

Vijay Kumar, a GRASP roboticist, presented the video today at the TED 2012 conference in Long Beach, California, as a demonstration of the lab’s innovative technologies.

In case you’re wondering, Sensenig says the James Bond Theme “was chosen because of the note structure, it was simple and repetitive so we didn’t have to use so many quads.”

The team plans to release a number of making-of videos in the near future, which will give a behind-the-scenes look at the set-up process. So be sure to keep tabs on the UPenn YouTube channel, here.

Watch the video below: