Watch These Quadcopters Flip A Reverse Pendulum Into The Air And Catch It (No, Seriously, Watch)

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While I hate using Buzzfeed-style headlines, this video warrants the hyperbole. We’re all familiar with the magic of quadcopters – they can fly in formation, roll around obstacles, and even interact with each other. This video demo, however, takes the cake. These little fellows are flying in formation while balancing a reverse pendulum. They’re essentially doing baton tricks in mid-air.

Created by the folks at ETH Zurich’s Flying Machine Arena this video shows the robotic cooperation not seen since Voltron. The project, by Dario Brescianini, involved a great deal of mathematic modeling.

To achieve this feat, Dario and his supervisors Markus Hehn and Raffaello D’Andrea started with a 2D mathematical model. The goal of the model was to understand what motion a quadrocopter would need to perform to throw the pendulum. In other words, what is required for the pendulum to lift off from the quadrocopter and become airborne?

The project involved assessing the necessary forces and angles required to launch the pendulum off of the little, flying platform and then the attendant moves necessary to grab the pendulum from mid-air. In short, we’re talking about robots that could pass an object over an obstacle without much difficulty.

You can read more about these robots here or you can just marvel at their wild shenanigans.