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Skoltech gurus unveil new interface using foot-touch technology on drone-projected screen

August 02, 2016, 11:53 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The technology called LightAir is a new system that can tangibly communicate with a drone quadcopter using foot gestures

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MOSCOW, August 1. /TASS/ Skoltech scientists have introduced an interface for controlling drones, as reported by the institute’s press service. The first test results of this latest innovation have been reported by the ACM Digital Library.

The technology called LightAir is a new system that can tangibly communicate with a drone quadcopter using foot gestures. Its key feature is projecting a touchpad image on any arbitrary surface, thereby making it interactive.

Until now, the only way of interaction has been by broadcasting radio commands, or using a joypad.

To carry out a command via the LightAir system, the user only has to click with his foot on the image projected by the drone onto any solid surface, be it horizontal or vertical.

Scientists demonstrated their technology on a quadcopter equipped with a depth sensor and a micro-projector device and here is how it works: the drone takes off, then hovers over a certain point, and projects the interface onto the floor. A user can interact with the quadcopter by clicking on the interface’s elements with taps and swipes just as smartphone users communicate with their devices.

Mikhail Matrosov, one of the developers, provides some potential applications for this technology: "Once cargo is delivered by drone, the receiver has to confirm the delivery with a signature. You complete this function with a smartphone, but it seems more natural to do it directly with the drone interface. With the LightAir, this can be performed without landing the flying object. Another example is getting to your gate at the airport on time: a drone can help you do it. With our technology, you can ask the drone to lead you to the gate and it will fly ahead of you, projecting an arrow guiding you to it. In addition to that, it will provide any extra valuable information.

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