Andrew Mittleider makes drones fly. He develops algorithms that instruct his smallish drones where to go, the idea being that such robots someday could be used to collect data from sensors in remote areas (a farm field, for example) while also recharging them.
The tricky part — the piece that spins his science-dominated graduate student brain at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln — is proximity. Mittleider could send a drone to a specific coordinate far away, but those last few inches between the drone and sensor become difficult.
“A lot of what we’re working on is getting close to things,” Mittleider said. The same goes for another project Mittleider had on his mind, one with less practical applications but a very real deadline. He needed to make his drone dance. … (Read more)