Researchers in Taiwan Fly a Drone Using Body Movement

A group of five researchers in National Chung Hsing University (NCHU) in Taiwan showed a unique way to fly a drone: using hand gesture.

PVD+ the researchers was founded in 2013 and led by Mark Ven, a civil engineering Ph.D. student at the National Chung Hsing University along with his professor, Yang Ming Der. They and three other members have successfully written an algorithm for Apple Watch that renders it a remote controller that can pilot drones and manipulate lights using hand gestures. They call the software Dong coding.

Reuters reported that Ven demonstrated how he can fly his AR Drone 3.0 using a gesture from his hand. The demonstration was conducted outside the Park Lane Department Store on Gongyi Road in Taichung City, Taiwan. The drone was receiving signal from Apple Watch he was wearing that interpret what he was doing and sending it to the drone.

Mark Ven told Reuters, "Previously we've needed complicated controls to fly drones, but now we can use a wearable device, and through human behavior and gestures directly interact with them - using a hand to control and fly drones directly."

Spectators in the flight demonstration also showed interest of the technology. Wang Si-kai, a student from Hsiuping University of Science and Technology who watched the demonstration said, "We used to play with drones using controllers, but now we could control them with our hands. It's something I'd love to buy after seeing it here."

According to NBC News, Dong coding have also other application in addition to flying drones. PVD+ team have adapted their Dong coding to manipulate lighting more than just turning on and off the lights, but also changing the colors. Ven explained how it worked, "When I clap twice the light turns on, as it detects that I'm clapping. When I write an English 'R' in the air the red light turns on, and when I write an English 'Y' the yellow light turns on. Lastly, when I clap twice the light turns off."

Ven also said that, "During this process we are communicating and interacting on the Human Computer Interface by using the internet of things, and the wearable device."

Although it is captivating, but the technology is still in the alpha stage. As Ubergizmo reported PVD+ has not revealed any plans of commercially launching this technology, but as a proof of concept it works quite well.

AR Drone that was used in the demonstration is a quadcopter drone built by Parrot SA, and first launched in 2010. The drone was designed to be controlled by mobile and tablet operating system such as Android and iOS.

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