We've seen how the rapidly dropping cost of advanced technology has made it possible for hobbyists and researchers to build humanoid robots with 70% of ASIMO's functionality at just a small fraction of the cost.
But what about other aspects of robotics? Is the same evolution taking place? Absolutely. A good example is hobby level development of advanced Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's) where dedicated individuals, like Chris Anderson, are putting together autonomous planes and helicopters with tremendous capability, usually for just a few thousand dollars or less.
Anderson, Wired Magazine's editor-in-chief and author of the best selling business book, "The Long Tail", is also fascinated by autonomous planes and spends a considerable amount of his free time designing, building, and operating his home made UAVs. He recently pulled together a group of UAV robot builders for an outing in the San Francisco Bay area, and documented everything as a feature piece on the PBS Wired Science program (see video below). He even managed to include a visit to the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field to see some of the larger, and much more expensive UAV's in operation.
Want to learn more about this exciting new hobby? Check out Anderson's DIYDrones website, and sign up!