The study shows that it is more intuitive than a traditional controller.
Drones are typically flown with a controller, but Swiss researchers at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) now claim they have a better way: using the human body.
The scientist at the EPFL has designed a system which uses the human torso to control a drone as opposed to using a joystick. This would leave a person's head free to look around, "much like a bird", the EPFL notes in their press release.
"Our aim was to design a control method which would be easy to learn and therefore require less mental focus from the users so that they can focus on more important issues, like search and rescue. Using your torso really gives you the feeling that you are actually flying. Joysticks, on the other hand, are of simple design but mastering their use to precisely control distant objects can be challenging," says Jenifer Miehlbradt, lead author of the team's resulting paper in PNAS, in the press statement.
The goal is to make drone flight more in tune with the human body, and researchers instructed 17 test subjects to mimic a drone flying through the air. Each participant wore VR goggles showing a drone's journey and was instructed to copy it. Their acting was monitored by 19 separate infrared makers on their upper bodies.
Soon enough, a pattern started emerging. Only 4 of the markers were actually being used consistently – those to the torso. With just their torsos, the test subjects were taking their drones through both virtual and real-world obstacle courses.
You can learn more about the torso-controlling drones by watching the video below.