“Intelligent” quad-rotor robots are quite capable and never cease to amaze. We saw them doing aggressive aerial manoeuvres in the past, but this time it seems the quad-rotors are through showing-off their reckless flying and are moving on to more constructive endeavours.
ETH Zurich roboticist Raffaello D’Andrea and architects Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler teamed up to have the quad-rotors build a 1:100 scale model of a tower envisioned by the architects. This resulted in the first art installation to be built by flying robots: a 6 m tall tower made out of Styrofoam blocks. The quad-rotor team was coordinated by “The Foreman”, a computer which oversaw the entire operation from a motion capture rig using 19 IR cameras placed on the ceiling. Since this task was quite long and took several hours, the robots took turns so some of them could charge their batteries while the others worked.
For those wondering how do the robots grip the blocks, know that they use a specially designed gripper that punctured and held the brick as shown in the picture below.