Tiny Aircraft Use Linux, Bluetooth for Computing

By Dennis Fisher  |  Posted 2005-06-03

British researchers have built tiny aircraft that use Linux to perform parallel processing operations and can communicate with one another via Bluetooth.

The aircraft are meant to fly together in a kind of flock or swarm and send data back to a central computer.

The researchers, at Englands University of Essex, have equipped the copters with Gumstix modules, tiny boards that run an embedded version of Linux.

There are two versions of the project: Gridswarm and UltraSwarm. Gridswarm employs miniature airplanes for an outdoor swarm, and UltraSwarm uses small helicopters for indoor applications.

The researchers plan to present a paper on the project, "Beyond Swarm Intelligence: The UltraSwarm," at the IEEE Swarm Intelligence Symposium next week in Pasadena, Calif.

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