London, November 28 (ANI): A team of scientists has developed mini helicopters that can get airborne even after they are knocked to the ground, and can also warn fellow copters if they bump into an obstacle.
According to a report in New Scientist, the 'minicopters' have been developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley in Moffett Field, California.
Known as "Sensorfly", the robotic craft is built by adding custom processors, sensors and software to rotors and motors from an off-the-shelf toy helicopter.
Each robot carries a radio, accelerometer, compass and gyroscope.
Thanks to the accelerometers, it notices if it bumps into something, then backs off and warns fellow copters nearby of the obstacle's approximate location.
Any time two or more of the helicopters are within radio range, they form an improvised data network to share information.
Their design is "passively stable".
As long as the twin rotors are spinning, the craft will hover in place.
Its shape is such that if it is knocked to the ground, the craft need only keep trying and it should be able to get airborne again.
Squadrons of the craft connect with each other using radio.
They pass information between themselves and back to a controller, and use the time delay on the radio signals to track their relative positions.
"The current prototypes can carry only 5 grams of cargo, but that is enough for a small camera or microphone," said Zhang.
"The networked helicopters are the most lightweight mobile sensor network to date," he said.
At present, the "Sensorfly" can only sustain flight for 5 minutes, which, according to Zhang, should improve with better batteries. (ANI)