Have you ever wanted to fly a drone with your body? How about wearing a VR headset that shows you the first person perspective of the drone and where it flies in real time? This is now a reality, thanks to a drone and exosuit developed by the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne University in Switzerland. It is called FlyJacket, and the user who controls the drone uses a VR headset and a soft exoskeleton in the upper part of the body that synchronizes its movement with that of the drone. The user extends the arms (like wings) and when he rotates or rotates his body, the drone will move correspondingly while the user can look through the VR headset. The system works with fixed-wing drones.
The exoskeleton has a movement tracking device to track movements and arm supports so you do not get too tired while pretending to be a bird. According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, which published a research paper on the project, the suit can detect the tone of the torso (forward and backward bending), which controls the inclination of the drone and the torso (or bend sideways) to turn the buzz. Researchers say that users can control the drone more effectively and intuitively through exosuit over a traditional controller.
The researchers believe that there is commercial potential for the project. "The design of the jacket was focused on keeping the material and technologies at a low price to have an affordable product," said one of the team members, Carine Rognon, to the IEEE. "In addition, it is small enough to fit in a backpack to take it in the field and be adaptable to many morphologies, so many types of bodies can use the same jacket."
Researchers are also working to add more commands to the drone and exosuit, including the ability to control how fast the drone travels. They are aiming to keep control "as natural as possible" and are also working on haptic feedback to improve flight performance. The project is a clear look at how we could control drones in the future, although it reminds me of Birdly, a facility that allows you to recline and flap your wooden wings while wearing an Oculus Rift hearing aid.