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The Last Thing You See Before Being Attacked by a DIY Drone Swarm

Watch Michael Reeves' swarm of drones detect his face and try to ram into it.

by Samantha Cole
Dec 11 2018, 8:14pm

YouTuber Michael Reeves programmed a swarm of a dozen drones to automatically detect his face and launch themselves at his head.

Reeves outfitted the drones with Arduino computers and radio modules, connecting them to a network, and then he connected his laptop to that network. Cameras on the front of the flying death machines detect faces, but only a couple of the drones actually run the facial recognition software to save processing power, according to his description in the video. The ones that do communicate to two others, which follow that leader toward a face.

Namely, Reeves’ face.

His first test run was a disjointed mess, the video shows, with the drones unable to find his face and the “followers” flipping over and hitting the ceiling. On the second and third attempts, Reeves lowered the facial recognition threshold, making it easier for them to find a face in the blank white room they were flying in.

After a few keyboard commands, they take off and aim straight for his head.

It appears as though these test runs were pretty harmless—at worst, Reeves is probably a little sore from being hit with cheap drone propellers. But as he noted in the video as well, I can’t help but think that if you attached a few spinning blades, then you’d have yourself an army of bloodthirsty human-detecting death machines.

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facial detection