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Wireless Networking Software Toys Hardware Linux

Unmanned Aircraft Clustered via Bluetooth 189

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at the University of Essex are using Linux and tiny embedded computer modules to build fleets of unmanned aircraft that fly in flocking formations like birds, while performing parallel, distributed computing tasks using Bluetooth-connected Linux clustering software. The Gridswarm project includes model trainers that can fly 120mph, while a parallel Ultraswarm project uses co-axial helicopters. A prototype of the later is believed to the world's smallest flying web server. The aircraft will run Linux on embedded computing modules from Gumstix."
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Unmanned Aircraft Clustered via Bluetooth

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  • by Cryptacool ( 98556 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @01:37AM (#12551651)
    Real-life applications is probably going to be something like smart sensor networks, you strap a small sensor to each little plane, send it out, tell them to flock together and have maybe one slight larger plane lagging behind which sends all the data back (power requirements for satelite communication and all). a lot harder to shoot down and a lot cheaper (and easier) to replace if it does get shot down.
  • by Mister Impressive ( 875697 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @02:30AM (#12551880)
    No, these things don't cluster to form life-like mimics of things or people, don't self-replicate or chew up mp3 players.

    I think it's more technology catching up with nature [].
  • Re:Want funding? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shaper_pmp ( 825142 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @04:31AM (#12552318)
    Maybe in the US, but here in the UK we're refreshingly clear of unnecessary terrorist paranoia.

    Might be because we don't currently have a large, powerful right-wing coalition bent on dominating the entire political process, who needs a constant state of paranoia and fear to create the climate in which they can fulfill their orwellian wet-dreams (it's our "left"-wing party now)...

    Or possibly just that we sensibly got all that expansionist empire-building crap out of our systems a hundred years ago, before all the little brown people we were bombing, gassing and shooting had the technology to get back at us.

    Now? Oh, you know... bygones.
  • cooperation (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ( 783783 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @10:22AM (#12554778) Homepage Journal
    The planes might be able to exploit each other aerodynamically as well. If a plane can position itself in the upward moving portion of the wingtip vortex of the plane in front of it, it could potentially use less power to keep itself airborne. If the planes rotate the "leadership" position then they may be able to fly for extended periods of time.

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!