By: Christine Speer Lejeune | Posted 24 October 2012
Left: Vijay Kumar, Robot Designer.
Just when you thought Apple had cornered the market on cool gadgets, along comes Kumar, the 50-year-old Penn prof who has invented tiny (as small as eight inches!) robots that can outmaneuver human-controlled drones, and even create 3-D maps of what they survey. Oh, and yeah: They fly. It’s all positively Jetsonian, but Kumar thinks the coolest part lies in application. “I can see a time when a swarm of them can go flying into some emergency situation before the first responders and transmit information,” he says. “It’s a way to protect human resources.” He estimates it will be roughly a year until we see his robots get out and about in the field.