The Tiniest Drone in the World is MINUSCULE

It wasn’t long ago that we were amazed by any kind of drone, but now our jaws are dropping for another reason – the amazingly small size of the latest quadcopters. As if following the exponential improvements dictated by “Moore’s law”, we’re seeing these flying machines shrink to ever more impressive scales. The SKEYE Nano is just the latest, and smallest, of the quadcopter evolution. Measuring just 4.0 x 4.0 centimeters (1.57 x 1.57 inches), it is small enough to take off and land on the palm of your hand.

This Platform Can Balance Things Way Better Than You Can

As part of their senior project, two Mechanical Engineering students at San Jose State University designed a platform that is more than a little good at balancing a steel ball bearing… even when someone tries to push it off. Tyler Kroymann and Robert Dee built the platform as a proof-of-concept for their impressive 6 degree-of-freedom (DOF) platform to simulate driving motions in racing games. Using a 6 DOF platform controlled by model airplane servos and topped with a resistive touch panel mounted on the platform as input, they used PID control algorithms to teach the system to balance. Yes, it’s quite complex, but the way this machine behaves looks deceptively simple:

Modular Robots that Self-Assemble, Coordinate and Fly

Distributed Flight Array 1

Quadrotors are all the rage right now, from a series of robots that precisely create buildings out of blocks, to an artist who turned his deceased cat into a flying machine (yes really); but what about robotic flying machines that need to self-assemble and cooperate in order to take flight? That was the dream of Professor Raffaello D’Andrea at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control at ETH Zurich. In 2008 he conceptualized the Distributed Flight Array, a self-assembling modular robot, and today it has become a reality. He and his team of researchers/students have spent the past 5 years conceptualizing, prototyping and testing a series of one-rotor flying machines that can’t fly on their own… but together form an unlimited array of flying potential. It’s seriously cool how well these machines operate; just check out the video below!