Raffaello D’Andrea explores the possibilities of autonomous technology by collaborating with artists, engineers and entrepreneurs.
When you hear the word « drone, » you probably think of something either very useful or very scary. But could they have aesthetic value? Autonomous systems expert Raffaello D’Andrea develops flying machines, and his latest projects are pushing the boundaries of autonomous flight — from a flying wing that can hover and recover from disturbance to an eight-propeller craft that’s ambivalent to orientation … to a swarm of tiny coordinated micro-quadcopters. Prepare to be dazzled by a dreamy, swirling array of flying machines as they dance like fireflies above the TED stage.
In a robot lab at TEDGlobal, Raffaello D’Andrea demos his flying quadcopters: robots that think like athletes, solving physical problems with algorithms that help them learn. In a series of nifty demos, D’Andrea show drones that play catch, balance and make decisions together — and watch out for an I-want-this-now demo of Kinect-controlled quads.
SPARKED: A Live Interaction Between Humans and Quadcopters
SPARKED: Behind the Technology
Source : Raffaello D’Andrea Dynamics works
Why you should listen
Raffaello D’Andrea combines academics, business, and the arts to explore the capabilities of autonomous systems. As part of his research as professor of dynamic systems and control at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich), he and his collaborators enchant viewers with works like the self-destructing, self-assembling Robotic Chair, or the Balancing Cube that can perch itself on its corners.
D’Andrea and his team created the Flying Machine Arena to test the gravity-defying abilities of their athletic flying robots. Building on research in the Flying Machine Arena, ETH Zürich partnered with its spin-off company Verity Studios and with Cirque du Soleil to create “Sparked,” a short film showcasing the unexpected airborne dexterity of quadcopters. D’Andrea is the co-founder of Kiva Systems, a robotics company that develops intelligent automated warehouse systems and that was acquired by Amazon in 2012.
What others say
“We should be more concerned about fulfilling our dreams as children. What was it we wanted to do as children? We wanted to fly like birds. Well, why aren’t we doing that?” — Raffaello D’Andrea on CNN.com, March 6, 2013