EPFL researchers have designed a flight suit of sorts, known as the FlyJacket — an exosuit that uses motion and gestures to manipulate drones while in flight. Although it may seem counter-intuitive to fly a drone using gestures, throwing in a VR headset can help negate that feeling and provide a new level of flight emersion at the same time.
Controlling the drone is done through body movements — spreading out the arms like wings and turning, pitching or rolling their body, the drone responds in kind, much like a bird in flight. At the same time, pilots can view the drone’s flight path in real-time while performing maneuvers flying fixed-wing drones. EPFL states the suit is soft and pliable, so moving, bending and arm rotation isn’t an issue or encumbering and it even features arm supports to help alleviate fatigue.
When it comes to the suit’s tech specifics — the FlyJacket’s skin features an elastic fabric layer composed of ‘sports fabric’ (AKA breathable polyester mesh), complete with leather shoulder, elbow and torso joints- offering the user a full range of motion without impedance. The arm supports are linear-passive gas springs mounted to 3D-printed support plates both on the arms and torso, providing the wearer with support for prolonged flight engagements.
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