Tower built by quadcopters

What happens when a roboticist and two architects team up?  The Flighwt Assembled Architecture installation, where a fleet of quadcopters have built a 20 feet twisting tower out of 1500 foam bricks.

If the first human aviation by these flying robots (a.k.a. the human blender) wasn't enough, and you fancied something more autonomous and architecturally sound, this may be the cure for that itch.  ETH Zurich Roboticist Raffaello D'Andrea and ETH architects Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler collaborated to make the combination of robotics and architecture in the form of an exhibit where four quadcopters built a 6 metre (20ft) tower (a 1:100 scale structure of a 'vertical village') our of 1500 foam bricks.

The process is actually quite ingenious.  The mini-choppers themselves are only sort of autonomous; there are motion tracking sensors installed into the ceiling to locate and guide them, as they fly a course pre-determined by the digital blueprint of the room and the tower.  This means they receive exact coordinates of where the bricks are to be picked up from a designated area, and where they are to be placed on this structure.  

They even took charging into account, programming the quadrocopters to navigate back to a charging station if low on power, tagging in a counterpart to continue work while it gathers juice.  We never saw these copters as possible 'Bob The Builders;' but we enjoy pondering the possibility.  Check out the videos of the action below.

Flight Assembled Architecture/Architectures volantes from FRAC Centre on Vimeo.

Source: FRAC Centre, IEEE Spectrum