Master's Thesis Proposal


Producing visually attractive television coverage of sports events and entertainment shows is a challenging business. Today's method of setting up unwieldy cameras on fixed stands or using shoulder-mounted cameras with one cameraman for each camera is costly. The thesis will present an easy to use, effective, and currently unavailable alternative: an autonomously flying micro robot with integrated TV camera.


My objectives of this research are to

  1. show a feasible schedule for developing such a device, ranging from a simple autonomously free flying micro platform (Phase 1), to a hyper intelligent micro robot which has a highly developed ethical awareness, and the ability to carry out autonomously verbally formulated complex missions, to adapt to its environment, and to repair itself (Phase 8);

  2. implement and realize the first three phases of this schedule:

  3. show the possibilities and limitations of speech recognition in this project.


For this Master's thesis research, I plan to realize the following phases:

A detailed description of the phases is online at

Tentative schedule

Here is the schedule for this research project:

April - May 1998Literature review
June - July 1998Implementation of Phase 1a (evaluate Gyrosaucer)
Aug - Oct 1998Implementation of Phase 1b (build simple FFMP)
Nov 1998Implementation of Phase 2 (mount video camera and transmitter)
Dec 1998 - Jan 1999Implementation of Phase 3a (indirect voice control)
Feb - March 1999Implementation of Phase 3b (direct voice control)
April - May 1999Thesis writing


The following references and hyperlinks as well as many more are on-line at:

U. Baumann, Fliegende Plattform, master's degree thesis, Institut für Automatik, ETH Zürich, Switzerland (1998).

J. Borenstein, The Hoverbot -- An electrically Powered Flying Robot, unpublished white paper draft, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (1992).

Gyrosaucer II E-570:

H. Kobayashi, Autonomous Indoor Flying Robot Honey: For communication and/or interaction between semiautonomous agents. (1997).

J. A. Paradiso, "The interactive balloon: Sensing, actuation, and behavior in a common object." IBM Systems Journal 35, Nos 3&4, 473-498 (1996).

C. Verplaetse, "Inertial proprioceptive devices: Self-motion-sensing toys and tools." IBM Systems Journal 35, Nos. 3&4, 639-650 (1996).

I wrote this proposal as an exercise for MIT class 21F.225, during March 1998.

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Send me some comments! Stefan Marti Last updated Apr 15 1998.