Falkor Systems Releases Pet Drone Pas de Deux

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Short dance concept piece demonstrates autonomous robot technology

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"Robotics research projects ranging from computer vision-based mapping to obstacle avoidance could lead to exciting developments for civil drones." -- Nicolas Halftermeyer, Chief Marketing Officer, Parrot

Today Falkor Systems, Inc. announced the release of the "Pet Drone Pas de Deux," a short collaborative dance piece produced in collaboration with Barkin/Selissen Project. The dance piece demonstrates Falkor's autonomous flying robot technology, while also exploring our relationship with robots. In the future, humanity will develop strong relationships with their robots, relationships that could expand towards feelings beyond just collaborative friendship, approaching even love. The Falkor "Pet Drone Pas de Deux" piece asks, "When we love our robots, will it matter if they are human or not?"

Conceptual demonstration of autonomous technology

Falkor Systems is developing autonomous flying robot technology that will track, follow, and film extreme sports athletes as they engage in their respective activities, from BASE jumping to skiing and beyond. Although the company's actual products are under development, this conceptual demonstration gives people the ability to imagine what the world might be like when we all have a flying robot pet. The conceptual demonstration uses open source computer vision technology and a common off-the-shelf toy UAV platform to fly and autonomously interact with its partner.

"Although the AR.Drone is a consumer toy, we are happy to see that researchers are using this platform to explore what is possible with autonomous flying robots," said Nicolas Halftermeyer, Chief Marketing Officer at Parrot, the manufacturer of the AR.Drone. "Robotics research projects ranging from computer vision-based mapping to obstacle avoidance could lead to exciting developments for civil drones."

An exploration of human-robot interaction

Falkor Systems technology helps people imagine the future when robots will be more than just tools, but also their friends and companions. Although today most people think of robots simply as tools which will simply make their lives easier, Falkor's mission involves developing robots that will do more than just make people's lives easier, but enrich their lives and help them build stronger connections with the people around them. Falkor's robots build these connections both through particular products in specific markets, as well as projects exploring human-robot interaction through dance.

In addition to working with Barkin/Selissen Project, Falkor has collaborated with the Performance and Interactive Media Arts M.F.A. Brooklyn College. "Working with cutting-edge technology in the arts lets us explore how it will change the world, even before the technology is fully developed and ready for consumer applications," said John Jannone, director of the PIMA M.F.A. program.

Open source technology makes robots come alive

The "Pet Drone Pas de Deux" takes advantage of cutting-edge open source robotics technology. The open source revolution has made it possible to develop applications with the latest in robotics research without excessive engineering effort. The flying robot uses OpenCV's machine learning-based image detection technology to detect and track its partner. The computer vision technology integrates with the physical platform using Robot Operating System and ardrone_autonomy.

The Autonomy Lab at Simon Fraser University maintains the ardrone_autonomy ROS package which interfaces with Parrot's AR.Drone SDK to interact with the AR.Drone itself. Falkor's pet drone software interfaces OpenCV with ardrone_autonomy using ROS as the "middleware". With only slightly more than one thousand lines of python code, Falkor's engineers could program the AR.Drone interact and dance with its partner. Falkor has also made its software available to the open source community as the ROS package falkor_ardrone.

"Open source technology speeds the development of cutting-edge technology," said Sameer Parekh, CEO of Falkor Systems, Inc. "By providing a base toolkit and central repository for vision technology, OpenCV gives us the ability to create a great vision application without having to reinvent the wheel. The ardrone_autonomy package lets us talk to the AR.Drone, and ROS plugs the pieces together."

About Falkor Systems

Founded in 2012 and based in New York City, Falkor Systems (http://falkorsystems.com/) will provide a next-generation companion for anyone who wants to reach beyond our horizons. Their technology follows your imagination everywhere on film, whether you’re facing the perilous terrains of extreme sports or capturing the delicate gestures of an intimate performance piece. Falkor’s autonomous flying robots represent freedom and flexibility that allows us to see what’s in front of us and imagine what’s ahead.

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Sameer Parekh
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