Open Source Robo-Choppers

Written by Jason Cundall

June 1, 2005 | 14:04

The University of Essex will have it's own fleet of tiny robotic helicopters to do it's bidding, if It's Ultra-Swarm (it's begging for a TM after that...) project, based on Linux and embedded processors 'takes off':

The University of Essex's UltraSwarm project is an experiment in swarm intelligence and wireless cluster computing that might one day spawn military surveillance applications. In one scenario, a flock of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, with video cameras could take in a hostile landscape from a variety of angles and process the image locally, in the sky.

For their proof of concept, the researchers are using lightweight $69 Proxflyer Bladerunner toy helicopters equipped with gumstix processors -- tiny self-contained computers weighing 8 grams (0.28 ounces), but packing enough power to run the Linux 2.6 kernel and communicate over a built-in Bluetooth module.

More from Wired.

So, if you're at the University of Essex, be warned. Soon there'll be no place to hide from the prying eyes of the campus Black Helicopter squadron.

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