3D Robotics

He's 14 years old. The mind boggles.

From IEEE Spectrum:

Mihir Garimella, from Pittsburgh, (video above) figured out a way to make flying robots evade collisions with obstacles, moving and nonmoving, by behaving like fruit flies. Garimella got the idea for his system when his family returned from a trip, to find rotten bananas on a counter and a house full of fruit flies that seemed to be able to brilliantly evade swatting. Garimella’s uses the simple vision system of a fruit fly to allow an onboard computer to quickly detect and analyze a coming threat, and wrote algorithms to mimic the fruit fly’s tendency to dodge by moving first horizontally, then vertically to escape to the threat. Garmilla’s project won top honors in the 13-14 age group and the computer science award.

His full, and amazing, report is here. Summary:

Noting the limitations of approaches presented by previous work, I aimed to create a simpler, faster, and more practical method of onboard threat evasion, inspired by the way fruit flies detect and respond to threats. After reviewing relevant work in the fields of biology and robotics, I designed a computationally and physically lightweight sensor module, modeled after the fruit fly's rudimentary but fast visual system. I also created novel algorithms to model the trajectory of and escape from approaching threats by mimicking fruit fly escape behaviors, and verified the effectiveness of these algorithms both experimentally and through a still image comparison to fruit fly escape.

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  • He is trying to swat that quad with my favorite prototyping material..bless his heart.

    Anyone else notice the latency before movement? He actually stopped the plywood sheet and could have busted that quad if desired. Better to have written a learned response algorithm that lets the quad learn that impacts hurt and to avoid to the 'pain'. I usually fed caught fruit flies to my Beta fish. They love them.

    After the Beta went to sleep with its fish fathers, I just use an aerosol weapon on fruit flies.. hand pump countertop cleaner. No batteries or cameras required. It also smells nice and lets me wipe the counter down afterward.

    All kidding aside, it is an interesting approach. A compound eye sensor has been used before for several projects like meteor detection, and satellite tracking. How much resolution does a sensor need? More data, more processing time, slower reaction... then you are dead.

    Also reminds me of the time the high school I attended was over run with fruit flies because of a long weekend where the biology classes forgot their experiments on fruit flies didn't stop when they went home.

    Oh wait a minute! How about small quads tracking down fruit flies and chopping them up as home pest deterrent tech...??


  • In the video I see at the copter two IR distance sensors only. Where the 25x25pix camera is located?

  • 4 years tops and he has his first nervous breakdown.

  • Wow. I give up...

  • Admin

    Interesting.  Though very basic/young  , I am sure it has lot of future possibilities with all round sensors.

  • 14 is ancient, by modern standards.  Never hire anyone over 10.  Interesting to note the quadratic least squares regression he used to detect false positives, even though he never said if it worked.

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