FlyJacket Allows Drone Piloting Using the Human Body

  • 22 April 2018
  • Sam Mire

Drone flight has never been this intuitive. No longer is the video game-like approach to chartering your personal flying unit necessary, as Swiss-based EPFL has conceived a method for drone control which channels our most instinctive forms of motion, resulting in an apparatus that brings humans closer to the feeling of flight.

Flight simulators are one thing, but an upper-body soft exoskeleton which allows operators to control their drones as if they were a bird completely elevates the experience of drone flight. Dubbed the FlyJacket, the game-changing invention allows a human to literally embody the experience of the drone, offering a first-hand system of control that resembles base jumping without the inherent danger.

Adhering to the tagline ‘don’t just fly the drone; be the drone’, the system allows users to control the flight of the drone as if they were a bird stretching out their wings, thrusting their upper chest to adjust the pitch, and straight up learning to fly.

In order to enhance the interaction between human and drone by making their control more natural and intuitive, we developed an exosuit, called the FlyJacket, which allows user to control a drone with upper body movements,” Carine Rognon, a researcher on the project from EPFL’s Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, told Digital Trends.

It’s the type of experience that all humans, and especially drone-heads, dream of, and the incorporation of emergent technologies including drones and VR qualify the technology as a validation of the bright future of tech which will allow for applications in the name of both necessity-based applications and outright fun.

By detecting torso pitch for height control and torso roll for directional changes, the user will feel as if they are a plane or bird gliding and bounding as if they actually had wings extended and a connected body which allowed for the manipulation of flight. And, with the obvious application for hobbyists, there is promise that the technology could be a major hit and eventually adopt more impactful applications.

It is small enough to fit into a backpack in order to be taken in the field and adaptable to many morphologies so many body types can use the same jacket.

Looking at you, military…

About Sam Mire

Sam is a Market Research Analyst at Disruptor Daily. He's a trained journalist with experience in the field of disruptive technology. He’s versed in the impact that blockchain technology is having on industries of today, from healthcare to cannabis. He’s written extensively on the individuals and companies shaping the future of tech, working directly with many of them to advance their vision. Sam is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious – as well as an occasional smile to the face.