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Flying Robots Build A Tower Near Paris
January 3, 2012 10:45 AM   Subscribe

"Uh Oh. Construction workers please note: Somebody just built a 20-foot tower using flying robots. No people involved." Eric Guizo notes: "The ceiling of the room where the assembly is taking place was equipped with a motion-capture system. A computer uses the vision data to keep track of the quadcopters and tell them where to go — the same approach used at ETH's Flying Machine Arena"
posted by MHPlost (41 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
The video is pretty neat. Be sure to check that out.
posted by MHPlost at 10:46 AM on January 3, 2012


Okay, you know what's great about being alive now, the following sentence is completely true and reasonable, " I'm so glad we're using the flying robots for something other than shooting people."
posted by The Whelk at 10:51 AM on January 3, 2012 [26 favorites]


I think that "quadcopter" is a cool name.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:51 AM on January 3, 2012


The best part of the video is the bit where the artists says, "I'm pretty happy – we haven't killed anyone..."
posted by koeselitz at 10:53 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


People who like to use their hands for something other than typing are going to hate the future.
posted by DU at 10:57 AM on January 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


How long can this entendre possibly remain undoubled?
posted by elizardbits at 11:02 AM on January 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


I can type pretty well with one hand.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:03 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, The Welk, it's easier to spray down an area with bullets than it is to comply with building codes. This makes DIY Deer Stands the center of a pretty weird Venn diagram.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:06 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


As humans (none of them, I presume, in the construction trades) applauded and gaped, four helicopterish thingies swooped through the air, somehow avoiding each other, and one by one, settled on some "brick dispensers." Using small plungers they then plucked one brick at a time, carried each to the "building site" and slowly created a wall.
Uh oh. Remember what happened with the last batch of robots that were equipped with small plungers?
posted by schmod at 11:06 AM on January 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


People who like to use their hands for something other than typing are going to hate the future.

Sounds like organic construction is a market.

"Steve, did you see the Johnson's house, god, it looked like it was constructed by 2nd generation Constructobots."

"I know, Fred, I know, that's why we went with organic construction. Me and the wife gotta live there, raise a family. What kind of message am I sending if I let a robot build it? Nope, it's all natural for us, organic construction, organic food, organic boob job."

"Oh, er, your wife is getting work done?"

"No, me! Couple of C's on my chest, she'll never look at another woman again. Things were were rough last year, once she took that new job as assistant coach to Cowboys. That new quarterback, Debrah, really caught her eye. So I'm having to make a few changes, keep things happy, you know?"

"Um..."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:07 AM on January 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


People who like to use their hands for something other than typing are going to hate the future.

People who like to use their hands because they find it satisfying to do so will probably just fine if they've got some other means of support.

People who *need* to sell labor with their hands in order to find employment may have an increasingly hard time doing it. And the effects will probably be particularly nasty in cultures in which failure to find such employment is considered strictly personal and a reflection on one's essential personal worth.
posted by weston at 11:08 AM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why can't people just enjoy living in a hollowed out mushroom like our ancestor clones did?
posted by The Whelk at 11:09 AM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


So, let's do for the construction industry what we've done for the auto industry?
posted by maryr at 11:12 AM on January 3, 2012


DU: People who like to use their hands for something other than typing are going to hate the future.

First they took our car manufacturing jobs, now it's building high-rises.

Or we'll finally realize that we automate enough of our world that we can work less than 40 hours per week, 48 weeks per year.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:14 AM on January 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


At least we'll still have cars to pimp and buildings to ... also pimp?
posted by filthy light thief at 11:15 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or we'll finally realize that we automate enough of our world that we can work less than 40 hours per week, 48 weeks per year.

Where do you work and are they hiring?
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:17 AM on January 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


The best part of this, to me, is that in theory it's not just a 20-foot tower built by quadrocopters -- it's a 1:100 scale model of a modular building that can house 30,000 people. Presumably to be built by quadrocopters also to scale. Or maybe just hundred-strong swarms of these little guys. Either way, I'm psyched.
posted by Tubalcain at 11:20 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


"This," said roboticist Raffaello D'Andrea, is the "first installation to be built by flying machines."

Pyramids.
posted by Curious Artificer at 11:24 AM on January 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Or we'll finally realize that we automate enough of our world that we can work less than 40 hours per week, 48 weeks per year.

"We" have already realized it. Our corporate masters frown on it.
posted by DU at 11:27 AM on January 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


People who like to use their hands because they find it satisfying to do so will probably just fine if they've got some other means of support.

So someone who used to love, say, framing houses will be "just fine" typing numbers into spreadsheets for 8 hrs/day if they can build birdhouses for an hour after dinner?
posted by DU at 11:28 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


DU: "We" have already realized it. Our corporate masters frown on it.

Yup. I should have qualified the value of "we" in my statement. But there's still the US mentality that use of vacation time means you will be replaced (older article, probably hasn't changed much).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:32 AM on January 3, 2012


Because we really need to make buildings cheaper and uglier than we already do.
posted by weinbot at 11:33 AM on January 3, 2012


Where do you work and are they hiring?

France?
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:34 AM on January 3, 2012


Note to displaced construction workers: Tommy Vercetti has an RC helicopter and he knows how to use it. (sorta -- but he works cheap, only $1000)
posted by straight at 11:53 AM on January 3, 2012


So much for my backup plan after my current job is automated out of existence.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:07 PM on January 3, 2012


Me? I'll creatively insult people on street corners for nickels.
posted by The Whelk at 12:14 PM on January 3, 2012


Typing?
Fascist.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:35 PM on January 3, 2012


As a kid, I loved this book about the future. It claimed that in the year 2010...
Wherever people work—in a factory or at home, or whatever else their job might be—they will work for only three days a week. The rest of the week they can do what they like. They can play football, learn a language, or train for a new job.
Presumably because, as a society, we would be ok sharing the benefit of automation and efficiency to everyone. Instead, we're just going to have a lot of people with no jobs at all and more wealth collecting hands of fewer people.
posted by the jam at 12:41 PM on January 3, 2012 [15 favorites]


I watched the video, and all I could think of was of man-hacks from Half-Life 2. Hell, these things are improved. The ones in the game swooped around drunkenly, not being much of a threat except in large numbers. These things are just so damn precise. And damn it, they're real, not just some clever obstacle in a video game. And of course, several people upthread have mentioned the ones that have guns.

I hate living in the god-damned future.
posted by KHAAAN! at 1:29 PM on January 3, 2012


The buildings of the future will not be built on open fields or at sea.
They will be built in space, or possibly on top of a very tall
mountain. In either case, most of the actual building will be done by
small robots. And as you go forth today remember always your duty is
clear: To build and maintain those robots. Thank you.
posted by samsara at 1:52 PM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why is there no time-lapse video of the construction?
posted by jedicus at 3:31 PM on January 3, 2012


the Luddites were unable to change things. the box is open. the future is here, and it's not going away. the thing to do is to try and figure out how to guide it so we all have better lives. we are the robots.
posted by TMezz at 3:33 PM on January 3, 2012


Why is there no time-lapse video of the construction?

Because the robots had their human agents erase from the time stream. They're weak now, vulnerable. They'll do anything to not let that truth get out.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:17 PM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


In Praise of Idleness by Bertrand Russell argues that technological advancement should've yielded a 20 hour work week way back in 1930, DU. I'd expect the advancements brought by information technology crushed that estimate into the low single digits. I donno if we've yet realized this actually.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:32 PM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Whelk: Me? I'll creatively insult people on street corners for nickels.

You're lucky the Markovfilter is down, or that could be outsourced, too. Though someone might come up with a way to harvest YouTube Comments and spit them out at random. Less personal, but a lot faster and easily scalable. That's what you get with machines.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:49 PM on January 3, 2012


the future is here

No, no, no.

OK. Now it's here.

And gone. I'm waiting for it to come back.
posted by IvoShandor at 5:38 PM on January 3, 2012


People who like to use their hands for something other than typing are going to hate the future.

AI will take care of the typers too. Technological displacement for all!
posted by Potsy at 7:35 PM on January 3, 2012


Guys! Be Happy! Robots!
posted by LiteOpera at 8:00 PM on January 3, 2012


"So my Anybot was talking to the quadcopter and something on my leg vibrated..."
posted by wallstreet1929 at 8:52 PM on January 3, 2012


This is so very cool. Robotics has really advanced by leaps and bounds in the last decade, it's amazing.

Ten years ago, the pinnacle of robotic achievement was ABIO soccer. Universities would try and put together teams for the competition, and I still remember my lecturer telling me about how the earliest leagues were won simply by the ones who could get the little robot dogs to do basic things like passing. Now we can build things using flying robots. It's brilliant! I can't wait to see what they take this.
posted by Xany at 9:02 PM on January 3, 2012


>> the future is here
> No, no, no.
> OK. Now it's here.

"The future is already here - it's just not very evenly distributed."
(William Gibson, NPR interview.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:07 AM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


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