Drone Control That You Have To See To Believe

Gear and Gadgets October 6, 2016

Naturally you are well aware that seemingly everywhere you look there is a new story about drones and proposed new uses for drone technology. In fact, no less than the United States Federal Aviation Administration only recently just released new rules and regulations as well as a new commercial drone pilot license. Yet, that pales in comparison to what you are about to learn about drones.

Start with a simple and commonly accepted fact about modern day consumer drones. That fact is that each and every drone is in fact controlled by some sort of technology that more or less performs the functions of a joystick. Whether it is a handheld controller or a few virtual buttons on your iPhone, the technology performs the same functions. But here is the key point that you don’t want to overlook. That is, the blindingly obvious fact that there is one drone and one controller.

Huh? Think about it this way, how would you control 2 drones? Or 3 drones or more? Reality: controlling more than a single drone with a joystick is not feasible, at least with current technology. So that leaves the question of how can multiple drones be controlled at the same time from a single operator?

Are you ready for this one? Probably not, but here goes. It turns out that a researcher at Arizona State University has uncovered a rather esoteric technology for controlling multiple drones flying at the same time. This research is taking place at the Human-Oriented Robotics and Control Lab at the University. This control technology makes use of specific thoughts.

That’s right. Specific thoughts are used as inputs for the controller. The drones pilot wears a skull cap embedded with no less than 1218 electrodes. These electrodes record brain activity in real time and direct it to the controller. Here’s how the current version of the technology works. To make the drones move (up to 4 at a time), the drone pilot watches the drones via a monitor link. Then the drone pilot thinks about the drones performing various tasks which signals the 4 drone controller to move all four of them in the chosen direction.

For the record, this research is still in the very earliest of stages. Yet the mere possibilities of such an engineering feat are staggering to contemplate. Stay tuned for more on this revolutionary technology.


comments powered by Disqus