From Makezine:

Sergei Lupashin has a PhD from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH), and is currently doing post-doctoral work with the University of Zurich’s Robotics and Perception Group.

Sergei came to the Drones & Aerial Robotics Conference (DARC) in New York City to demonstrate his fotokite, an autonomous quadcopter tethered on a small dog leash. He explains that by constraining the robot with the leash, he is able to simplify the dynamics it has to deal with. The robot is programmed to maintain a set angle, and effectively hovers at the end of the leash. A camera mounted on the robot provides an effect that is a cross between an airborne pet and a steady cam.

This was one of my favorite moments of the conference.

More details on Fotokite here. Sergei tells me it's a PX4-powered copter with custom code.

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Comment by HeliStorm on October 15, 2013 at 5:14pm
Sergei...I wonder, how did you determine what level to set the fixed throttle? Could a feedback system be used to very simply regulate the throttle? I know simplicity is key here, but a basic throttle would help efficency, I think. Also, do you have some sort of fail safe system should the tether break?
Comment by sergei lupashin on October 16, 2013 at 10:11am

We can't discuss details of our technology here, sorry. Much of it is patent-pending. Fundamentals that were done as research, as indeed funded by the Swiss taxpayers, will be published in the coming months.

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