From the Spring 2013 Course Schedule of New York University's ITP program:

Flying Robots

 

Flying robots, aka Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones, are growing in number and influence in military use. In parallel, the hobbyist community is developing DIY methods, making flying robots more accessible to more people. What is yet to become common is for these DIY aircraft to carry out visions rather than simply take pictures. This course aims to provide the conceptual and technical foundation for using flying robots for visionary purposes. Here, technology is the tool. The air vehicle is the paintbrush, the poster, the camera; visible to some degree but not the purpose. The first step is to strip down the employment of a flying robot to its essence, as a means to gather information or take action at a distance, using an autonomous agent. The group will discuss and expand the current thinking on feasible, worthy objectives for flying robots, from art to science, from observation to communication, from performance to activism. Throughout the course, these conceptual topics will be a backdrop for hands-on projects using accessible technology. 

The projects will investigate:

• Performing a task with a flying robot
• Moving information and decision-making
• Making a craft fly autonomously

The projects will be performed in small teams and will require conceptualization, system design, and mechanical, electrical and coding work. The types of small aircraft could include quadcopters, blimps, planes, or less conventional platforms. Flight controls will be done using the Arduino-based ArduPlane and ArduCopter, or other embedded computing platforms. The online DIY/hobbyist community will be used as a resource. Each week, class will include a brief lecture and discussion followed by demonstration and debugging of projects.

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Comment by Daniel Dirksen on November 26, 2012 at 1:11am

Hand's on practical use and application of engineering principles in Academia?!?

Academia is 5-10 years ahead of industry.  Does this mean that we are 5-10 years out from the first ArduPlane/ArduCopter industrial application?

Regardless I'm sure this class will excite and focus the minds of tomorrow.

Comment by Russell - ScoutUAV.com on November 26, 2012 at 2:03pm

My alma mater.  ITP is a great program.

Comment by Tim Wilkin on November 26, 2012 at 8:46pm

Daniel, I think it merely means that we're starting to see a move toward graduates who will look at this technology as a tool, rather than a challenge to design, build and deploy. We are moving in a similar direction in IT at Deakin (where I teach), using robotic platforms (such as humanoid robots, rovers, quadcopters, etc.), dev platforms such as arduino, beagleboard, etc., and other 'tech toys' to motivate a new generation of IT graduates to create new application areas for these cheap, easy-to-access devices.

I think academia is at a point where many of these systems are transitioning out of engineering labs and into IT/Art/Design/etc. courses and labs... I've certainly noticed they have the capacity to excite and inspire IT students, so I think it's a bright future.

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