Future 50: Raffaello D'Andrea 01.08.13

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Icon asked a dozen experts and practitioners to nominate the people they think are, in some way, shaping the future. The resulting list of global talent is a snapshot that shows how young designers and architects are pushing the boundaries of their disciplines and trying to change the world

The future as envisioned by roboticist Raffaello D'Andrea is one that shares much with science fiction. His work – which spans actuated wingsuits, a flying machine arena, a robotic chair, flight assembled architecture and a blind juggling machine – is set to make this vision a reality. One of his most ingenious inventions is a flying quadcopter – a robot that thinks like an athlete, solving physical problems with algorithms. "The bulk of our research is algorithms," says D'Andrea. "It's the magic that brings these machines to life." These algorithms, designed with mathematical models and control theory, allow the machine athletes to perform impressive acrobatic manoeuvres. "My work is focused on the creation of systems that leverage technological innovations, scientific principles, advanced mathematics, algorithms and the art of design in unprecedented ways, with an emphasis on advanced motion control," says D'Andrea. "My hope is that these creations inspire us to rethink what role technology should have in shaping our future."






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