Quadrotors designed and built at the University of Pennsylvania perform the James Bond Theme by playing various instruments including the keyboard, drums and maracas, a cymbal, and the debut of an adapted guitar built from a couch frame. The quadrotors play this “couch guitar” by flying over guitar strings stretched across a couch frame; plucking the strings with a stiff wire attached to the base of the quadrotor. A special microphone attached to the frame records the notes made by the “couch guitar”.

These flying quadrotors are completely autonomous, meaning humans are not controlling them; rather they are controlled by a computer programed with instructions to play the instruments.

Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science is home to some of the most innovative robotics research on the planet, much of it coming out of the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab.

This video premiered at the TED2012 Conference in Long Beach, California on February 29, 2012. Deputy Dean for Education and GRASP lab member Vijay Kumar presented some of this groundbreaking work at the TED2012 conference, an international gathering of people and ideas from technology, entertainment, and design.

Views: 1218

Comment by Jack Crossfire on February 29, 2012 at 3:20pm

They look more biological than mechanical in this role.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on February 29, 2012 at 3:34pm

The team unveiled that at the TED conference, where I am. Went over great!

The DARPA/Aeroenvironment humingbird team was here, too, so I got to see that fly and look at its innerds. The most impressive electromechanical intergration I've ever seen. Thing Swiss watchworks with hearing aid electronics. Stunning. (Sadly, they're not allowing pictures of the insides)

Comment by Gary Mortimer on February 29, 2012 at 8:58pm

Biomimicery (if thats how you spell it) it's the future.

Comment by James masterman on February 29, 2012 at 9:20pm

It almost looks like the quads are "enjoying" that.....

Comment by Robert Krogh (hooks) on February 29, 2012 at 10:40pm
But why?
Comment by David on February 29, 2012 at 10:59pm

That makes me happy

Comment by MarcS on March 1, 2012 at 1:19am

Hmmm, a nice video again.

Now we just need Vicon everywhere and we can do something useful with these systems...

Comment by koen.hufkens on March 1, 2012 at 2:14am


Like a lot of things in science there is no why. This is experimenting with possibilities of a platform. Although this seems useless at first I can imagine that this could have applications in impact avoidance, routing optimization (think performing the same piece with less drones by increasing the accuracy + speed). Discovery, like in the development of children I guess, is often driven by play (let it be mind games / thought experiments of real life setups).

So asking why, because it doesn't seem to have any 'direct' real life value, or marketable value is often inappropriate. This is the reason why it is all so easy to justify to cut spending on basic science. However, a lot of people forget that experiments like this lead to products down the line, either directly or by inspiring other people.

Comment by sergei lupashin on March 1, 2012 at 3:41am

More than a year ago:

Comment by S.G. Sutter on March 1, 2012 at 8:25am


Now let's see them prepare a hot meal.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, doesn't matter.


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