Your next Wi-Fi signal provider: Flying robots

by Mark R

I’m sure that many of you have had the problem of losing a Wi-Fi signal for your laptop. Instead of using the access point at your local library or coffee shop, have you considered flying robots?

This is SMAVNET (Swarming Micro Air Vehicle Network), a project from Swiss-based lab EPFL, and I have included a video of their progress after the jump so you can see how it works. The robots themselves are these boomerang shaped miniature planes that have to be thrown to be launched. The user then monitors their formation, and they will form an ad hoc network.

I am assuming that they work by having one robot bouncing a stable Wi-Fi signal to the other, until you finally have five bars of signal quality.

I’m not certain what the power source for the flying robots would be, but judging from the picture, it looks like it is solar. I don’t know how long these guys could stay up in the air if they were battery-powered or something.

I believe that the purpose of SMAVNET isn’t for the average user, but made for emergency situations. So if there was some catastrophe in some out-of-the-way area, you would still have an active Wi-Fi signal so you could get the crucial information that you need.


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