Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Swarms of Flying Cubes

[ SAILS • The Mascarillons ]

The Mascarillons are the first rigid aerobots developed for the [ SAILS ] project. They are flying cubic automata able to develop collective behaviors and assemblages through swarm-intelligence protocols.
The final result will see a flock of 12 to 20 Mascarillons evolving within a spherical inflatable dome equipped with panoscopic projectors.

The Mascarillons are basically helium blimps contrained within a rigid, ultra-light structure.
An outer envelope is tightened on the structure, resulting in truly cubic blimps with perfectly flat faces that can assemble in a building bloc manner. The mechatronics equipment is currently composed of small ducted fans located within the structure's edges, sonar sensors spanning each direction, light detectors, a compass and an inclinometer, and a Korebot Linux CPU (which weighs barely 40g) with wireless LAN. With this implementation the Mascarillon is balanced to the hydrostatic equilibrium and uses motors to avoid possible obstacles, to perform some task oriented moves, or to adjust for micro-atmospheric movements. The wireless network enables direct exchange of information.

[ SAILS • The Mascarillons ]


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