Best Hand-Controlled Drones: What are they?
Hand-controlled drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) which have been equipped with a small computer system or other device that allows them to fly using only their own muscles. They come in various shapes and sizes, but all of these devices allow users to operate the aircraft remotely from a distance without requiring any physical contact with the operator.
The term “hand” refers to the fingers, thumbs, and index finger of the user’s hand. A number of different types of devices exist for controlling these devices.
Some are simple mechanical devices like those found in toy helicopters; others use a combination of buttons and switches; still others rely on software programs that can make complex flight maneuvers.
In addition to flying UAVs, some models can also carry out tasks such as taking photos or recording video. These devices are often called “gadgets.”
There are two main categories of hand-controllable drones: remote-control and hand-held. Remote control means that the pilot must physically touch the device to operate it.
Hand held means that the device is operated via a small button or lever on a table or desk.
Remote Control Devices – Mechanical & Software
Mechanical devices include toys like helicopter toys, model airplanes, toy cars, and so forth. The user uses his or her hands to control the movement of the device.
The user can also use mechanical devices like fishing reels and joysticks to remotely control small model airplanes or other types of gadgets. Most drones require the user to use some type of software program to operate them.
Games are another option for users who want to operate a drone using their hands. Some of these resemble Steve Grand’s 1998 game Descent and include a variety of tasks such as navigating a maze or shooting targets in the air.
For example, one such game uses a small hexagonal board with six different colored paths and a flying saucer that the user must maneuver. The goal is to use hand gestures to move the saucer along the colored paths to reach a destination.
The software used for drones is complex, but can also be easy to learn. Most of these devices allow users to control the speed, direction, and other aspects of the gadget’s behavior to some degree.
There are countless types of software available for drones. These programs can range from games to simulations that can give users a real-life experience of flying a drone through various landscapes or engaging in aerial combat.
Here are some of the software options available to drone owners:
Drone flight simulator games
These programs allow users to control various types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in a number of different settings. A user can learn how to maneuver a UAV or practice skills like scanning a particular area from the air or carrying out search-and-rescue missions.
The user can learn how to maneuver a UAV or practice skills like scanning a particular area from the air or carrying out search-and-rescue missions.
For example, flight simulator software for drones allows users to pilot small aircraft like the Cessna 172 without having to leave the ground. These programs are not intended as replacements for real-world pilot training and are not great for learning how to fly a plane in difficult weather conditions.
However, these software programs can be useful for honing skills like landings, when operated in a virtual environment.
Games and simulations are also available for learning how to navigate a robot on land or underwater. For example, one game puts the user in control of a submersible craft exploring the wreckage of the Titanic or some deep-sea lava caves.
Some programs allow users to fly drones through 3D landscapes or battle against other virtual drone pilots. These games are also useful for learning how to maneuver a UAV while staying safe from obstacles in the environment.
Drone racing games
These programs put users in control of a small, lightweight drone as it whizzes through an obstacle course or races against other pilots. Most of these games operate on software that use First Person View (FPV) to simulate the experience of being inside the vehicle.
The drone pilot wears goggles that display a live video feed from the drone’s camera.
This combination of video and goggles is called FPV, and it offers a similar experience to wearing virtual reality (VR) gear.
These types of games are great for drone pilots who want to start racing their craft but don’t have the space or money for a real drone. They also allow users to practice piloting skills outside of a real race.
Drone flight training software
These programs work by placing the user in control of a small aerial vehicle. The software shows the user’s drone and a number of obstacles on a computer screen.
The user must maneuver the drone around the screen to avoid colliding with any of these obstacles. This type of software is intended to help users learn how to steer their drones while avoiding potential hazards.
Games and flight training software allow users to practice a number of drone piloting skills without the risk of crashing a physical craft. They are also useful for honing skills like landings, which can be tricky for new drone owners.
Drone racing games, on the other hand, give users the chance to test their piloting skills outside of a real race track.
What are the benefits of using drone software?
Using a program like FPV or a flight training game allows users to practice piloting skills in an immersive environment. This differs from some other methods of UAV training, such as learning how to fly a plane, because it puts the user in control of an aerial vehicle.
Learning how to pilot a drone can teach users how to accurately control a vehicle while steering clear of potential hazards. It also offers a fun and engaging way to practice these skills.
What are the drawbacks of using drone software?
Some users may initially find it difficult to maneuver a UAV through an invisible maze or race course. They may also find it challenging to differentiate between real and virtual obstacles in a 3D environment.
Drone software can require significant investments in both equipment and time. Users must have a drone to connect to their computer in the first place, as well as having a reliable internet connection.
As with any new technology, there is also a risk of crashing or damaging your craft. Fortunately, most software includes “flight simulators,” which allow users to test their piloting skills without risking real-world accidents.
What are some other training options?
There are a number of other opportunities for people who want to start flying drones.
First-person view (FPV) flying
Some drones allow users to connect their craft to special goggles, which display a live video feed from the drone’s camera. This type of setup, often referred to as first-person view (FPV), puts the user in control of flight while also immersing them in the experience.
One of the most high-tech options in this category is the DJI Goggles Racing Edition . This set of goggles comes with its own video screen, as well as a slot for your phone or tablet (not included).
When paired with a device that runs the FPV software, users can see a live video feed from the drone’s camera in real time.
These goggles are designed to be used by drone racers, who need an immersive experience to help them avoid accidents and collisions on the track. They also work with the auto-pilot feature, so that you can focus on flying and not worry about crashing.
These goggles are compatible with a number of popular drones, including the DJI Mavic Pro, Phantom 4, and Inspire 2.
See our review of the best first person view goggles available today.
If FPV goggles are out of your price range or you just want to try something simpler, there are cheaper options on the market. The technology used in these RC simulators gives users a taste of what it feels like to fly a small drone through various courses and obstacles.
The most common type of RC simulator is the little toy-like drones that can be controlled using a remote control (RC). These are available at a much lower cost than most other UAVs.
However, the limited range and battery life is a significant drawback.
Many users enjoy the experience that these RC simulators offer, but they are unable to use them for commercial purposes. These toy drones often lack important features, such as auto-pilot or long range capabilities.
They also have a very short battery life and limited range.
The Parrot Rolling Spider is an example of one of these toy drones. It can be controlled using a phone or tablet device.
This drone is also known as the “Jungle UFO” due to its unusual design. It has a unique, quadcopter design with four wheels for added mobility. The Rolling Spider can also perform tricks, such as somersaults in midair.
In terms of price, the Rolling Spider falls on the low end of the spectrum. It costs less than $100, making it an attractive option for users on a budget.
At just under 2 pounds, this drone is very light. It can be operated indoors or outdoors, but it has limited range and a short battery life.
3D Robotics is one of the leading manufacturers of industrial-grade drones. Founded by the famed inventor and entrepreneur Chris Anderson, 3DR markets its products toward businesses and organizations that can put UAVs to use.
One of 3DR’s most popular options is the Iris Plus. This is a fully featured drone that comes with several useful and intuitive add-ons, including anti-collision sensors and an NDVI sensor for vegetation analysis.
This commercial-grade UAV also has the ability to stream video in real time, which makes it suitable for a number of different applications.
The Iris Plus costs around $2,000, making it one of the more expensive consumer drones on the market. However, its durable, reliable design makes it a great investment for businesses or organizations that want to put UAVs to extensive use.
Parrot makes several different types of consumer drones, all of which come with their own sets of features and capabilities. One of the most versatile drones is the Bebop, which was introduced by Parrot in 2015.
This drone has a unique design. It comes with a built-in 1080p HD camera for capturing photos and videos from the air.
It can also be controlled using a smartphone or tablet device that runs on iOS or Android. The Bebop has a battery life of around 25 minutes, giving it plenty of time to explore whatever location the user may desire.
Sources & references used in this article:
Hand gesture controlled drones: An open source library by K Natarajan, THD Nguyen… – 2018 1st International …, 2018 – ieeexplore.ieee.org
Controlling Quadcopters Using Hand Gestures by K Natarajan – 2018 – search.proquest.com
The future of robot assistants: Building a hands-free voice-controlled quadcopter by P Frau Amar – 2017 – repositori.upf.edu
Autopilot Drone by ÞÁ Pálsson – skemman.is
Fire Detection and Suppression Drone by N Janco – 2020 – wpi.edu
Using hands as an easy UAV joystick for entertainment applications by M De Marsico, A Spagnoli – … of the 13th Biannual Conference of the …, 2019 – dl.acm.org