Researchers of Zurich ETH have succeeded to create self-assembling copter robots. These tiny flying vehicles can fly singularly, then meet their peer copters in the air, and compose a coordinating composite flying object. After finishing the task, they disengage themselves and come back on the ground singularly.
These DFA (Distributed-Flight-Array) robots come smaller sized and designed to go any direction so that it becomes easy to re-align them whenever it is necessary. They are equipped with a magnet in their chassis, which allows them to be connected easily. They have gyroscope, infrared altitude sensor, on-board microcomputer and battery. They can communicate with each other in real-time without any external help. They are able to adjust their individual thrust in order to maintain the combined structure.
These tiny copters are unique in terms of flying behavior. When they fly individually, they suffer some control issue but as soon as four of them are adjoined together, their flight behavior becomes similar to that of a quad copter. When ten of them create a composite flying object, a fascinating flying behavior appears. They start to flap as every copter tries to adjust their position and reach equilibrium.
Scientists of the ETH are now trying to give these DFA a full autonomous power. Currently a research assistant is helping these tiny robots to stay on course.
Source : Wired Magazine