Quadrotor squadron plays the [James Bond] theme song in preparation for world domination


If you weren’t already a big fan of quadrotors by this point, we’re pretty sure the video below will get you on the bandwagon in no time flat.

The video was debuted this past week at the TED2012 conference, giving [Daniel Mellinger, Alex Kushleyev, and Vijay Kumar] from the University of Pennsylvania GRASP Lab, a chance to show off their amazing robotics work. The team used a set of autonomous quadrotors to play the [James Bond] theme, complete with keyboard, drums, cymbals, guitar, and maracas.

The coordination of the robots undoubtedly took an incredible amount of time to orchestrate, but after watching the video we think it is well worth the effort. Now of course you can’t simply input a piece of sheet music into the quadrotor control system and expect them to play it, but we imagine that time will arrive before you know it!

Continue reading to see the [James Bond] theme song in full, and be sure to swing by the U Penn site to read more about the project.

Thanks to everyone who sent this one in!


  1. oodain says:

    i want them, now.

  2. Dave says:

    Oh. My. God. That’s awesome!

  3. Ed Minchau says:

    The robots aren’t coordinated or orchestrated. They check out their neighbors.

    • Kanein Encanto says:

      Not neighbors, the same quadrotors & team. It said above:
      “video was debuted this past week at the TED2012 conference, giving [Daniel Mellinger, Alex Kushleyev, and Vijay Kumar] from the University of Pennsylvania.”

      Summary for the video you linked:
      “In his lab at Penn, Vijay Kumar and his team build flying quadrotors”

      • Ed Minchau says:

        In the TED talk, Vijay Kumar explained that there is no central control or dominant robot orchestrating movements. Each robot is autonomous and independent, and observes its closest neighbors in order to decide where to go next. This is a far more robust concept than trying to guide each robot under central control. The same idea could be used in a space exploration context: send a swarm of robots with only generalized instructions, and let the robots figure out in real time how to implement the mission. This is particularly nice if the distance to Earth is measured in light-minutes.

  4. Wonko The Sane says:

    I want them to play the theme tune for Airwolf as an encore…

  5. Thopter says:

    “That’s so cute it’s stupid.”

  6. War_Spigot says:

    The end with the guitar. Awesome

  7. vonskippy says:

    Let the Quadrotor battle of the bands begin!!!!!

  8. Now I’m want to listen some David Gilmour or Jean Michel Jarre.

  9. wmatl says:

    The geek in me loves this. I wish, I had time to work on cool stuff. My inner Sci-Fi nerd is screaming they are working in teams, they’ll be coming for us next!

    Nicely done.

  10. jaqen says:

    At least they didn’t do a Rickroll :-)

  11. Andy7 says:


    That was absolutely fantastic, well done.

  12. rxcrazy says:

    This is all great and wonderful but like all their other videos they are in a controlled space. They have cameras and IR sensors in the room to give them the ability to operate and navigate in a 3D space. The moment you take this stuff outside it doesn’t work anymore. It was impressive when they first started doing advanced things with them, but recently they seem to spend more time doing pointless things than adapting them to operate as a group outside of a controlled lab.

  13. draeath says:

    This is awesome!

    Unfortunately the keyboard sounds like poo, though. I’ve accidentally created better sounding patches :P

  14. Leonard says:

    How cut. BUT WRONG

    eh eh eh

  15. Damian says:

    This is the full video (with the TED talk)

    Enjoy it

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