Researchers at Germany's Ilmenau University of Technology are developing flying quadcopter robots that can be used to form a self-assembling ad-hoc wireless network in the event of disaster. Built with off-the-shelf parts (including VIA's Pico-ITX hardware and a GPS unit) the robots are designed to provide both mobile phone and WiFi access -- and they can do it far more quickly than a technician on the ground might be able to. The device comes in a kit for €300 (about $380), which includes all but the battery -- the batteries currently run around €1,000 (over $1200) and only offer up 20 minutes of flight time. Once the device has found a perch, however, it can operate for "several hours." If you'd like to see some more of this guy, be sure to head on over to FutureParc hall at CeBIT. Either that, or check out the additional picture after the break.

[Thanks, David]


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Researchers develop flying WiFi robots for disaster relief