Each week, we spotlight a cool innovation recommended by some of the industry's top tech writers. This week's pick is a new, intuitive way to pilot drones.
Researchers at Switzerland's École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne have built a system that lets drone pilots steer their vehicles by just turning and twisting their torsos, said Megan Scudellari at IEEE Spectrum. The new technique turns out to be both more precise and more intuitive than using a joystick. In tests, researchers found that it "requires less mental focus from pilots and frees up their head and limbs."
In the real world, that means an operator flying a drone at a natural disaster site or conducting a search-and-rescue mission can concentrate simply on the mission itself. While the initial tests used reflective markers and a motion-capture system, a second research team has built a "FlyJacket" that will let an operator manipulate drones, and eventually other kinds of robots, with a wearable rig.