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September 18, 2009

Boeing tries to control "swarm" of unmanned vehicles

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Here's one straight from the "cool patents" file: Boeing filed a patent application earlier this year on a system and method for controlling a "swarm" of unmanned vehicles using body motions.

The patent filing notes that there's "significant interest in the use of remote, unmanned vehicles for various surveillance and exploration activities," including battlefield uses. It notes that current technology allows for the control of a single unmanned vehicle by way of a joystick.

But Boeing's approach would basically connect a human controller's body movements to the movements of more than one unmanned vehicle. Swarm technology has been a hotbed of R&D for the last few years.

"Body movements of the operator may be sensed to generate the operating commands. Wireless signals may be transmitted to the unmanned object that correspond to the operating commands that control operation of the unmanned object."

The diagrams filed with the patent depict little helicopter that presumably could be controlled through motion. Imagine a swarm of these little whirlygigs swarming around you. Yikes!

boeinghelicopter.jpg

Boeing's been doing research for DARPA on swarm technology and use in spacecrafts for the Pentagon's DARPA agency, according to this Gizmodo post from last year.


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 9:15 AM | | Comments (2)
        

Comments

Bend it like Beckham?
Body English!

Very cool stuff.

Hate to see what happens when you accidentally use the "attack this target" signal to indicate yourself while picking a wedge.

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About Gus G. Sentementes
Gus G. Sentementes (@gussent on Twitter) has been writing for The Baltimore Sun since 2000. He's covered real estate, business, prisons, and suburban and Baltimore City crime and cops. He was one of the first reporters at The Sun to use multimedia tools and Web applications -- a video camera, an iPhone -- to cover breaking news. He hopes to cover Maryland geeks and the gadgets and Web sites they build, and learn -- and share -- something new every day.

Gus has a wife, a young daughter and two feuding cats. They live in Northeast Baltimore.
This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
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