Academics Decry FAA Limits On Drones.
From: The Boston Globe
(8/17, Meyers) reports
A regulatory battle in Washington has compelled professors to ground their research drones, the tiny aircraft academics consider vital for archaeological surveys, river mapping, and countless other discoveries.” The Globe explains that the FAA “recently clarified that only hobbyists can fly unmanned aircraft without a special permit,” however, “now scholars warn the FAA’s action jeopardizes their work and undermines basic education.” The Globe says that Paul Voss, an associate professor of engineering at Smith College, has coordinated a protest letter signed by nearly 30 researchers. “If you go to Walmart and buy a 15-inch remote-controlled helicopter and use it for fun, it’s a toy,” Voss said. “If you use it for education or research from 4 feet off the grass, it’s an unmanned aircraft system.
When Harvard researchers first introduced their Kilobot project in 2011, they had built only 25 of the little robots. Two years later, they announced that they had made 100 robots. Now the researchers say they have built one thousand Kilobots—possibly the most robots that have ever been operating in the same place at the same time. The Harvard team is now teaching the robots to behave like a swarm, organizing and controlling themselves based on a set of simple rules, much like in biological systems. Learn how each Kilobot works and watch a video of the swarm forming different shapes.