SCIENCE
03/01/2012 01:59 pm ET

'Nano Quadrotors' Play James Bond Theme While Flying In Formation (VIDEO)

For such tiny devices, the autonomous drones known as "nano quadrotors" have made a very big splash. Not long ago we brought you video showing the tiny copters flying in formation. Now the quadrotors are starring in an even more astounding video--and this time the quadrotors are performing as a full band.

Their show-stopping number? The James Bond Theme.

The engineers put the instruments in place, set up a camera so the fliers could track each other's positions, and programmed each one with the ability to dodge. What may be especially astonishing about the video is that the cute little copters have to figure out how to get to their next note on their own.

The UPenn website explains:
"In this demonstration, the “stage” is in a room fitted with infrared lights and cameras. The nano quads all have reflectors on their struts, which allows the camera system to plot their exact position and relay that information wirelessly to each unit."

Lab members then gave each quad a set of waypoints--the quads had to get to each one at an exact time to hit the right note, but figuring out how to get there and avoid other fliers was the problem. In the end, all the quads do the job beautifully.

The General Robotics, Automation, Sensing, and Perception (GRASP) lab, which created the quadrotors, isn't just doing this for fun. CNET reports that the technology is "a step toward coordinating multiple robots for tasks such as surveillance or searching areas after a disaster."

WATCH: THE ORIGINAL NANO QUADROTOR VIDEO

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