Control your unmannded aerial vehicle (UAV) with your iPhone? There's an app for that, now that MIT professor Missy Cummings and her band of students have created an iPhone app to control the movements of this MAV UAV, which looks a lot like the new Aeryon Scout.
(iPhone UAV controller)
Actually, using an iPhone was her undergrads’ idea — because experimenting with it as a basis for a new robot controller meant she’d have to buy them all iPhones of their own. “We had the idea in June,” Cummings told Danger Room. “In six weeks, we went from the idea to a real flight test,” using MIT’s indoor robot range. (See video.) The total cost? $5,000 for a new, commercially available, quad-rotor robot — plus the cost of iPhones for her crew.
I think it's especially cool that you can bank and maneuver the UAV by tilting the iPhone.
One of the other reasons I was interested in this is that the iPhone seems to be the interface of choice for a variety of projects. Consider the previous champions - the Nintendo Wiimote and the Nintendo game controller.
The general operation of the controlling device and the UAV reminds me very strongly of the Raytron apparatus from Ray Cummings 1928 classic Beyond the Stars.
From Danger Room; thanks to the marvelous Moira for the tip.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/10/2009)