Sergei Lupashin

Aerial robotics researcher
Sergei Lupashin imagines new uses for flying robots. He's a 2014 TED Fellow.

Why you should listen

When Sergei Lupashin saw how an aerial photograph of massive protests around the 2011 Russian federal elections changed the media silence around the subject, the aerial robotics engineer realized the truth-telling value of the bird’s-eye view. Yet aerial photographs, even those taken by unmanned aerial vehicles, are tricky to produce: it’s difficult to pilot a UAV safely, and government regulations restrict their use.

Lupashin gets around both obstacles with his new invention, the Fotokite – a lightweight, camera-equipped quadricopter controlled with a tether (for the purposes of this demo, a dog leash). He turns one on, points it in a direction, and it flies out, hovering at a consistent angle. Then he launches a second, and a third. While the Fotokite would have a huge impact on journalism, it should also prove useful for archeologists, architects, wildlife biologists, emergency responders and more. The possibilities are endless. If you had one, Lupashin asks, what would you do with it?

Sergei Lupashin’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Sergei Lupashin

Fellows Friday

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Fotokite! TED Fellow Sergei Lupashin brings aerial photography down to Earth

September 12, 2014

With his tethered quadcopter Fotokite, Russian-born inventor Sergei Lupashin plans to put aerial photography and the power of unmanned aerial vehicles in the hands of of journalists, architects and artists. Interestingly, this device was actually inspired by a 2011 protest in Russia. We talked to Lupashin to find out more about this inciting moment, and about how […]

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Live from TED

From 3D animated molecules to tethered kite-copters: A recap of the TED2014 Fellows Talks, Session 1

March 17, 2014

With the TED Fellows, expect the unexpected: 3D animated molecules, tethered quadcopter cameras, death row inmates turned lawyers, quantum chaos. It’s the fifth-anniversary edition of TED Fellows talks, live from Vancouver, and here’s what happened in Session 1. Usman Riaz, musician + artist The Fellows stage comes to life quietly with the melodic strains of […]

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