Flying Robot Swarm Takes Off

The Ecole Polytechnic Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland is developing swarms of flying robots that could be deployed in disaster areas to create communication networks for rescuers. The Swarming Micro Air Vehicle Network (SMAVNET) project comprises of robust, lightweight robots and software that allows the devices to wirelessly communicate with each other.

The flying robots were built out of expanded polypropylene with a single motor at the rear and two elevons (control surfaces that enable steering). The robots are equipped with autopilot to control altitude, airspeed and turn rate. A micro-controller operates using three sensors — a gyroscope and two pressure sensors. The robots also have a GPS module to log flight journeys.

The swarm controllers running Linux are connected to an off-the-shelf USB Wi-Fi dongle. The output of these (the desired turn rate, speed or altitude) is sent to the autopilot.

For the swarming, robots react to wireless communication with either neighbouring robots or rescuers, rather than relying on GPS or other positioning sensors that might be unreliable, impractical or expensive. Software algorithms that know where other nearby bots are can stop them from crashing into each other.

Read More HERE

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Rayqual adapters get your Canon and Nikon lenses on Sony NEX compact cameras

Finally, interchangeable lens cameras that are compatible with other brand-lenses. Being a bit of a Canon-freak myself i’d say: ‘Canon, why don’t you?”’

photo credit via wired.com

One of the biggest (and most overlooked) advantages of mirrorless cameras is that they can be adapted to work with almost any lens there is. The short distance between the throat of the lens-mount and the sensor means that there is a lot of space for an adapter. Rayqual, a Japanese manufacturer, has just announced a range of these adapters for the new Sony NEX-3 and NEX-5 cameras.

Lens adapters for 35mm SLRs don’t really work well as the extra thickness pushes the lens forward and prevents it from focusing at infinity (you can still shoot close up, though. In fact, macro-extension tubes exploit this focus shift to do their job). But there is a good inch of room to play with on mirrorless cameras, so the adapters work well. I use one on a Panasonic GF1 to attach Nikon lenses. You lose auto-focus, but otherwise it works great.

Rayqual’s new adapters let you mount Nikon, Canon FD, Pentax and Leica lenses onto the Sonys. If you are using modern lenses designed for crop-sensors, you will have minimal changes to the focal length, as the NEX cameras also have APS-C sized sensors.

Shipping next month, the adapters will run from ¥19,950 to ¥25,200, or $220 to $275.

Read More http://tinyurl.com/23rpuwt via wired.com

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read more here: http://tinyurl.com/266k2fy via gizmag.com