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Self-Assembling Robots Using Flying Drones 33

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the air-support dept.
mikejuk writes with an excerpt from I Programmer on a neat swarm of robots that use flying drones to build a map of their environment: "How can a swarm of robots get a global picture of its environment? Easy it simply sends up a drone. We are used to thinking of drones as being used for surveillance by humans operating on the ground, but what is good for humans is good for robots too. The drone can view the overall terrain and run simulations of what configurations of robots could best traverse the slopes. Once it has worked out how to assemble the robots into a single machine the drone has to communicate the plan to the swarm using a protocol based on the colored lights they all have. The ground robots adopt a random color and the drone selects the one it wants to communicate with by displaying the same color. They then repeat the process until only one robot has been selected i.e the drone follows the color changes of the selected robot. Of course if you don't like the idea of human drones flying over your head you may not be happy about robots getting in on the act as well..." Original paper

Comment: It's a combination of things (Score 1) 590

by Bondolon (#41821975) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Stands In the Way of a Truly Solar-Powered Airliner?
Solar Cell efficiency is low, and would likely be ineffective given the limited sun-exposed faces of the aircraft. Using a quantum-dot paint for solar could be viable (they're far more efficient). Secondly, batteries are currently very heavy, which would be a problem. Lightweight, structural batteries would help greatly with that issue. Thirdly, batteries don't really store enough energy currently. Next-generation structural batteries potentially could, but those are some years off. Lastly, the anodes and cathodes of current batteries degrade too quickly. There are upcoming technolgies that can withstand tens of thousands of recharge cycles, but they're all very preliminary. Since planes are expected to have very long life spans, that makes electrical planes currently impractical. Given the above technologies, electrical planes will be very practical within probably 20-30 years. Until then, they are impractical because, logistically speaking, you charge up the plane and, while it's flying, let the solar do all it can to keep the batteries up. The distance the plane can travel, then, is a function of its total stored energy and all of the energy collected from the solar.

Comment: A Full 24TB using only 2 USB ports (Score 2) 405

by Bondolon (#40943551) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Simple Way To Backup 24TB of Data Onto USB HDDs ?
Assuming you're not worried about backup speed, you could use a four-bay external hard-drive enclosure in combination with RSYNC and LVM on any linux variety. I don't know if they all do, but the MediaSonic HF2-SU3S2 supports 3TB hard drives per bay, which means that two of them could be used in conjunction to provide 24TB of backup storage. Since you can make a large volume out of the full 24TB using LVM, you could even use something like dd to write to the disk (RSYNC with the archive option would be a better choice though, imho).

Comment: Re:Let's not jump the gun. (Score 1) 250

by Bondolon (#39679487) Attached to: Major Networks Suing To Stop Free Streaming
The issue with this argument is that they aren't rebroadcasting, they're just directing the signal as a slingbox would. There is exactly one end user unit (could be a person or a household) of the information, and it is not being made publicly available. If I set up a slingbox in my livingroom, it is legal to use that slingbox to consume the signal on another of my devices. What if I set up a slingbox on a roof in Brooklyn and streamed the content to my house in Texas? The only difference between these scenarios is geography. What I see here is the case of a company saying, "Instead of having you own the antenna in Brooklyn, we'll set up the antenna and the tunnel for you, and you can consume it how you wish."
PlayStation (Games)

Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 Confirmed For the PS3, 360 83

Posted by Soulskill
from the hey-why-not dept.
RyuuzakiTetsuya writes "According to Kotaku, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is making its way to the PS3 and the Xbox 360. It's based on the Dreamcast code, and it includes Online play and widescreen support. A demo will be available Thursday on the Playstation Network, and the full game will retail for $15 on each of the respective online services. A gameplay trailer is available as well."

Comment: Re:Not a problem, really (Score 1) 230

by Bondolon (#24381151) Attached to: Alaska Looks To Volcanos For Geothermal Energy
Adversely affect the actual output? Sure. The problem isn't the effectiveness of the output, though, it's the output itself. This may sound ridiculous, but we get enough sunlight that most parts of Earth could positively contribute, especially if much of that land is not biome-valuable. In the cases of Alaska, Texas and the Mojave, we have incredible potential for output, with little-to-no biome detriment.

"Just think of a computer as hardware you can program." -- Nigel de la Tierre