Both here and elsewhere, I have posted about neat helicopters. Not the full scale manned ones but automated and radio controlled model ones.

Maybe I am yearning for my youth days of model rocketry but I always manage to waste some time on videos of these whirling gadgets. TechDirt just posted few more neat videos on autonomous helicopters. I thought I might share them here.

MIT has developed an amazing autonomous quadrotor. It does not even need GPS. In the video at MIT TechTV, it navigates through a window barely large enough to fit through. The vehicle creates a map using lasers and stereo cameras. One of the intended uses of this craft would be search and rescue. After watching the video, I am sold on it being able to do so. It also looks much more high tech than similar projects did back in the mid 90s.

Stanford University has a fascinating project, a helicopter that “learns” to fly by observing human pilot. It watches and learns so to speak. Watching the video, you can see it is a quick learner. It performs flips, roll, and all kinds of stunts.

The last video is from the GRASP lab which I mentioned here before. These quadrotors are showing off their maneuverability in this short video. They move pretty fast for being self controlled and zip through openings with less than three inches clearance.

Hope you enjoyed the links and I didn’t make you waste too much time. Now all I have to do is resist the urge to buy a RC tricopter. I know I would make it crash and burn.