A Taiwanese technology research team has found a way to pilot drones and manipulate light using gestures from an Apple Watch. Joel Flynn reports.
This might look like an ordinary drone - and it is, of the sort many around the world might have got for Christmas. That is until you see how Mark Ven is flying it in Taiwan's Taichung City. You could be forgiven for thinking he's using the Force - it certainly looks like something out of Star Wars. But the truth could be almost as impressive. SOUNDBITE: PVD+ Cofounder, Mark Ven, saying (Mandarin): "Previously we've needed complicated controls to fly drones, but now we can use a wearable device, and through human behaviour and gestures directly interact with them - using a hand to control and fly drones directly." Ven and his team at PVD+ have written an algorithm for the Apple Watch that allows it to understand and interpret hand gestures. By moving his hands forwards or backwards, Ven can control the pitch and tilt of his Parrot AR Drone. It's not just flying that Ven's software allows him to control. Turning on lights with a clap might be a long established technological feat. But have you ever seen a light turn red like this? SOUNDBITE: PVD+ Cofounder, Mark Ven, saying (Mandarin): "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 internet of things has been much discussed in recent years, the increased connectivity of products and hardware meaning ever more sophisticated automation. PVD+ aren't the only company developing technology that responds to gestures and hand movements. What this development makes clear, though, is that The Force might soon be stronger in all of us than we ever thought possible.