MIT helicopter uses lasers to navigate indoors

Here’s a video of the impressive micro aerial vehicle (like a UAV, but smaller) by the MIT MAV Team. To me, the coolest part is their use of a 2D laser range finder device to map out the environment around them. The range finder device itself can only measure distance in a line from left to right. Instead of using a servo to change where it points, they move their whole vehicle up and down. This data is then used to build a full 3D model of the room, which is used to navigate through their environment. This allows the vehicle to work indoors, where traditional GPS tracking wouldn’t work. [via technabob]