Moving beyond the concept of voice controls or touchscreen gestures, a relatively new concept with drones is the ability to control a drone by detecting muscular and electrical signals. This is the basis of a new product that is currently seeking crowdfunding called the UDrone.

The UDrone device. UDrone features Gesture Recognition function  for aiding the taking of photograph...

The UDrone device. UDrone features Gesture Recognition function, for aiding the taking of photographs.

The UDrone presents a novel type of interface, developed by the company EEG Smart. Although the drone is not exactly ‘mind-controlled’, the package (drone plus headband) presents a different type of hands-free drone experience.

Commanding a drone with brain electrical impulses? The UDrone kit.

Commanding a drone with brain electrical impulses? The UDrone kit.

The package comes as a drone and a head-piece band (which the manufacturer terms a ‘brain computer interface’). The band works by picking up electromyographical activity on the scalp. The band contains sensors, fitted behind the ears.

The headband for the UDrone. The headset has a number of sensors built in. There s an EEG  or electr...

The headband for the UDrone. The headset has a number of sensors built in. There’s an EEG, or electroencephalography sensor, which measures electrical activity in the brain. There’s an EOG, or electro-oculography sensor that measures eye movements by monitoring the electrical potential between the front and back of the human eye.

These sensors function by picking up electromyographic activity from the masseter muscle (the facial muscle that plays a major role in the chewing of solid foods).

The video below shows the drone and headset being demonstrated:

The band is capable of detecting slight facial movements and converting these into commands. The drone and headband were sent to Digital Journal for review and, after a little practice, the drone can be made to move in a particular direction via the weaning of the headband. This makes for a different experience – certainly a number of different gestures are required – and a bit of fun. It will take a bit of practice, however.

The drone can be operated indoors or outside (with the user at close proximity). For this reviewer’s test, the drone was only tested for a short period of time indoors.

The package contains:

UDrone – the drone itself.

UMind lite – the headband.

Detachable battery.

USB cable.

Extra propeller set.

Protection cover.

Mini battery charger base.

User manual.

Propeller installer and changer.

To use the drone an app is required and connection to WiFi, to enable controls via a smartphone. Once connected, the drone flies well. There is an auto-flight control system maintains stability during flying ad there are three adjustable speed settings. The drone is charged by a USB cable.

The drone comes with a camera, which can also be activated using the headband (a double-blinking activity) or by making a hand gesture (a peace sign). This is a little tricky but it can be achieved, again with practice.

Alternative image of the UDrone.

Alternative image of the UDrone.

The UDrone has recently been launched on Indiegogo, with a current offer of around $300 for the drone and headset.





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