Researchers from PVD+ in Taiwan have engineered a common looking drone to be controlled by hand movements with an Apple Watch. See it in action, one might think it’s all thanks to magic or The Force. Since 2013, the researchers have been working with National Chung Hsing University on developing a programming language they’ve dubbed “Dong.” Once the software is installed on an Apple Watch, it can recognize hand gestures and other motions and turn them into instructions to control a drone.
In PVD+’s demonstrations, project leader Mark Ven dons an Apple Watch and manages to control a Parrot AR Drone 3.0 just by moving his arm. Things like height, pitch, and tilt are all adjusted by simple hand movements up and down, and right and left. It’s exactly how one would imagine a Jedi controls a drone.
“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,” Ven told Reuters. The engineers add that their software can be used on just about any wearable device that has motion sensors such as gyroscopes and accelerometers.
In addition, they managed to make Dong work with more than just drones, including smart lights with the Philips Hue HomeKit, and a robotic toy ball from Sphero, similar to Star Wars‘ BB-8 droid. With the lamps, users can clap twice to turn the lights on, then change the hue color by tracing a letter in the air with their finger, such as “R” for red or “Y” for yellow.