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This article was published on January 3, 2016


Use The Force (and an Apple Watch) to fly this drone

Matthew Hussey
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Matthew Hussey

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Matt Hussey was the former Editor-in-Chief for The Next Web. Previously he worked on the launch of Wired UK, ShortList and Mr Porter. He's b Matt Hussey was the former Editor-in-Chief for The Next Web. Previously he worked on the launch of Wired UK, ShortList and Mr Porter. He's been an active contributor to GQ, FHM, Men's Health, Yahoo, The Daily Telegraph and maintains a blog on Huffington Post

A team of researchers in Taiwan have managed to turn an Apple Watch into a sensor that can be used to control a drone using only hand gestures, reports Reuters.

PVD+, a team of technologists and engineers worked with National Chung Hsing University to develop a programming language they called Dong, that can be used to turn smartwatches into remote controls.

In this case, the software, installed on an Apple Watch, uses an algorithm to detect movement in the wearer’s arm, which is then translated into changes in the pitch and tilt of a drone.

In the above video, captured by Reuters, project leader Mark Ven gently moves a Parrot AR Drone 3.0 from left to right using just movements, which looks a lot like something Kylo Ren might do.

The team say it can be designed to work on any wearable equipped with gyroscopes and other movements sensors.

“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,” he told Reuters.

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But, as Ven explains the Dong language can be used for other purposes, including turning light switches on and off.

“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. ”

The team is currently in the process of applying for a patent on the Dong software. In the meantime, you’ll have to wait a bit longer before you can harness ‘The Force’.

Using The Force? No, it’s an Apple Watch flying this drone [Reuters]

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