Sure, the researchers may state they are intended for assistance in disasters… but these wifi network creating robots could just as easily be used to spread the reach of the dreaded Skynet! I have my doubts, but Engadget seems pretty sure that these robots have good intentions. Time shall tell!
Researchers at Germany’s Ilmenau University of Technology are developing flying quadcopter robots that can be used to form a self-assembling ad-hoc wireless network in the event of disaster. Built with off-the-shelf parts (including VIA’s Pico-ITX hardware and a GPS unit) the robots are designed to provide both mobile phone and WiFi access — and they can do it far more quickly than a technician on the ground might be able to. The device comes in a kit for €300 (about $380), which includes all but the battery — the batteries currently run around €1,000 (over $1200) and only offer up 20 minutes of flight time. Once the device has found a perch, however, it can operate for “several hours.”