As we enter the next era of rope bridge construction we must ask ourselves “Who shall make the next rope bridge?” The researchers at ETH have the answer.
Their solution, created in connection with architectural researchers Gramizio Kohler, employs four robots working in sync to drag rope around a frame. The bridge, which can hold over 1,300 kg, was made by having the robots fly around the structure to create knots and patterns.
“Except for the required anchor points at both ends of the structure, the bridge consists exclusively of tensile elements and its connections and links are entirely realized by ﬂying machines,” wrote the researchers.
“The assembly of the bridge is performed by small custom quadrocopters and builds upon the Flying Machine Arena, a research and demonstration platform for aerial robotics. The arena is equipped with a motion capture system that provides vehicle position and attitude measurements. Algorithms are run on a computer and commands are then sent to the ﬂying machines via a customized wireless infrastructure.”
What does this mean? It means robots can easily build a bridge that humans can walk over without fear, ushering in a new era of robotic flying bridge-making quadcopters. These are the same quadcopters that can dance, merrily, around a maypole. Verily we live in an age of wonders.