Throwing and Catching an Inverted Pendulum--with Quadracopters

When I scrolled past this article on Hacker News late last night, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I certainly wasn’t expecting to see remote control quadracopters (flying vehicles with four rotors instead of one as in a helicopter) balancing, throwing, and catching a large pendulum with practiced precision. To my amazement though, that’s exactly what I found, along with another video showing two similar quadracopters juggling a ball back and forth with near-unbelievable success. Merely classifying these demonstrations as absolutely amazing falls far short of the impressive work conducted by Dario Brescianini, Markus Hehn, Raffaello D’Andrea, and the author of the original article Markus Waibel at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, but it will have to suffice.