via aerial robotics / the “Internet of Things” / pervasive computing / “big data”…

If we can draw analogies between software engineering and organizational design (both of which are formed in the image of the human brain)…

Can we draw analogies between athletic machines and athletic organizations / agile organizations?

“The Astounding Athletic Power of Quadcopters”

Raffaello D’Andrea via “flying machine arena” / TED

What does it mean for a machine to be athletic?

Quadcopters are extremely agile, but such agility comes at a cost — they’re inherently unstable.

They need some form of automatic feedback control in order to fly.

Estimation and control algorithms are the magic that bring these machines to life.

How does one design the algorithms that create a machine athlete?

These scientists use model-based design.

They capture the physics with a mathematical model of machine behavior.

Using a branch of mathematics called control theory, they analyze the models and synthesize algorithms for controlling them.

They capture the dynamics with a set of differential equations — they manipulate the equations using control theory to create algorithms that produce the desired behavior.

Knowledge of the mathematical models enables the researchers to design novel machine architectures and clever algorithms that that gracefully support exotic configurations.

The researchers are using machine athleticism to develop new algorithms for machines that push them to their limits.