It turns out that quadrocopters can do much more than fly about in unison, sounding like a bunch of angry bees. Under the right direction, they can be made to perform music. The capable boffins over the University of Pennsylvania’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception Lab (or GRASP for short) have managed to program a group of quadrocopters to play different musical instruments to a familiar tune.

Here is the science-y stuff:

In this demonstration, the “stage” is in a room fitted with infrared lights and cameras. The nano quads all have reflectors on their struts, which allows the camera system to plot their exact position and relay that information wirelessly to each unit.

Lab members can then assign each unit a series of waypoints in three-dimensional space that must be reached at an exact time. In this case, those times and places translate into notes on a keyboard or a strum of a guitar. Figuring out how to get from waypoint to waypoint most efficiently and without disturbing their neighbors is up to the robots.

Watch the different rotorcraft as they play the keyboard, drums, cymbals, and a modified guitar to perform a robotic rendition of the signature 007 theme. Prepare to be amazed, Mr Bond.

[via Laughing Squid]