22 SERVO 10.2013
THIS WOULD BE MABULOUS
Sometimes it’s fun to take a look at impossible concepts, especially
if they're: a.) utterly insane; and b.) provide enough foundation for us
to convince ourselves that they're not actually completely entirely
totally impossible, even if they are.
Adrian Perez Zapata's futuristic concept — which he calls "Mab"
— envisions a swarm of tiny flying robots zipping around your house
to clean surfaces before returning to a spherical home base.
Mab is a self-cleaning system consisting of 908 robots which clean
the surface of a floor by touching and trapping the dirt particles on
the floor with droplets. These robots also fulfill the task of feeding the
system energy by capturing solar energy in their wings. The second
component of the Mab is the core which the robots returns to. This
central part handles multiple tasks: It generates the mixture of water
with an additive that gives higher surface tension and a pleasant odor
to the water; it controls the robots based on information they are
providing about the environment; it receives the contaminated
droplets and filters them to remove the dirt from the water, saving the
highest percentage possible; and cleans its walking surfaces.
The following summarizes the seven step cleaning process:
1. Mixes the water and the substance that gives greater surface
2. The mixture is distributed to subordinates (robots).
3. The robots fly with the load. The robots use a propeller for
4. The robots clean by touching the surface with droplets of fluid.
5. The droplets capture the dirt and carry it back to the core.
6. The core filters the dirt out.
7. The core recovers the highest possible percentage of water to
restart the cycle.
The thought behind Mab is to restore a sense of wonder in everyday life, and to recapture the magic in simple processes,
providing human shelters an autonomous purification.
It's a little bit hard to tell from the pictures just how small the flying robots are, but they're seriously tiny. Getting robots
that small to fly at all — much less fly intelligently — is exceptionally difficult but not impossible, as Harvard is trying to show
with their Robobee project at
BACK WITH NEW BLACK
Parrot's latest AR drone upgrade — the Power Edition — features a new piano
black hull, up to 36 minutes of flight time, and some swanky new prop colors.
Keep in mind that the " 36 minutes of flight time"
is the total flight time you get using both the high
capacity batteries (if you land the drone and switch a
spent battery for a fresh one). The drone does not
carry both batteries at once and besides the color,
there is no fundamental difference in the hardware.
The batteries will run you about 60 bucks by
themselves, so the whole package (including four sets
of props) costs about $370 — not too bad a deal.