Can’t Go Outside? Send A Drone!
Sadly The Dodgeball Function Isn’t Yet Available
The researchers behind the event cameras which let their drones dodge balls (and possibly wrenches or birds of prey) are a little bit late for this to be a great way of entertaining yourself but it will one day be a wonderful feature for entertainment and security. In order to allow drone to react quickly to incoming objects the researchers at the University of Zurich realized that a normal camera is not an efficient solution.
An event camera only sends data from pixels that detect a change in light intensity for processing as opposed to a traditional camera which sends the entire frame for analysis. They combined the new camera with a new processing algorithm which let them cut the reaction time from what is usually between 20-40 milliseconds down to just two or three milliseconds. This gives the drone the reflexes to be able to automatically dodge incoming objects; at least in theory.
You won’t be able to play drone dodgeball yet, but if you have one handy it might be a great tool to be able to feel like you are able to get out and visit the neighbourhood while still maintaining physical distancing.
It’s great to see the development of new techniques that will make drones better and more stable for the jobs they will do. It’s also nice that one day, we can fly a drone around without worrying about the neighborhood kids lobbing basketballs at them.