Drones are becoming more common throughout the United States. Also known as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), it’s a type of small aircraft that’s piloted from the ground. To put the popularity of drones into perspective, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says that 600,000 plus drones were registered with the government’s database in 2017. By the end of 2018, more than 1 million drones in the United States are expected to be registered. Whether used for recreational or commercial purposes, drones are typically controlled via a handheld controller, which may or may not include a headset that streams footage from the drone’s perspective. However, researchers from Purdue University have developed a new way to control drones that involves a touchscreen interface.

As explained on Purdue University’s official website, FlyCam is a touchscreen system developed by researchers that’s designed specifically for use with drones. So, how does it work exactly? FlyCam is essentially a mobile app that’s installed on a smartphone or tablet. Once linked to the pilot’s drone, he or she can use the app to control their drone. According to researchers behind the project, FlyCam supports “finger drags” as a method of input. To accelerate, for example, the pilot simply drags his or her finger across their mobile device. Pilots can also change the direction of their drone by using single or double taps on their device’s interface.

The general idea behind FlyCam is to provide drone pilots with an easier and more intuitive way to control drones. Currently, most drones are controlled using one or two joysticks. Some pilots have become proficient at operating drones using these traditional control methods. Purdue University researchers say, however, that the touchscreen-based method offered by FlyCam is an easier and more intuitive solution.

So the user doesn’t have to think about multiple controls for the drone and the camera,” said professor Bedrich Benes, who collaborated with researchers to develop the FlyCam. “He or she can think about the drone as a simple three-dimensional flying camera that is being controlled by simple gestures on a touch-screen device.”

Researchers say that FlyCam was tested using the Android mobile operating system. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be released for Android. Perhaps we’ll see it available within the next for months, or researchers may never release a final version. Either way, FlyCam attests to the benefits of using a touchscreen interface to pilot drones. It’s a simpler, easier way to control drones than using a traditional joystick controller.

Drones are becoming more common throughout the United States. Also known as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), it’s a type of small aircraft that’s piloted from the ground. To put the popularity of drones into perspective, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says that 600,000 plus drones were registered with the government’s database in 2017. By the end of 2018, more than 1 million drones in the United States are expected to be registered. Whether used for recreational or commercial purposes, drones are typically controlled via a handheld controller, which may or may not include a headset that streams footage from the drone’s perspective. However, researchers from Purdue University have developed a new way to control drones that involves a touchscreen interface.

As explained on Purdue University’s official website, FlyCam is a touchscreen system developed by researchers that’s designed specifically for use with drones. So, how does it work exactly? FlyCam is essentially a mobile app that’s installed on a smartphone or tablet. Once linked to the pilot’s drone, he or she can use the app to control their drone. According to researchers behind the project, FlyCam supports “finger drags” as a method of input. To accelerate, for example, the pilot simply drags his or her finger across their mobile device. Pilots can also change the direction of their drone by using single or double taps on their device’s interface.

The general idea behind FlyCam is to provide drone pilots with an easier and more intuitive way to control drones. Currently, most drones are controlled using one or two joysticks. Some pilots have become proficient at operating drones using these traditional control methods. Purdue University researchers say, however, that the touchscreen-based method offered by FlyCam is an easier and more intuitive solution.

So the user doesn’t have to think about multiple controls for the drone and the camera,” said professor Bedrich Benes, who collaborated with researchers to develop the FlyCam. “He or she can think about the drone as a simple three-dimensional flying camera that is being controlled by simple gestures on a touch-screen device.”

Researchers say that FlyCam was tested using the Android mobile operating system. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be released for Android. Perhaps we’ll see it available within the next for months, or researchers may never release a final version. Either way, FlyCam attests to the benefits of using a touchscreen interface to pilot drones. It’s a simpler, easier way to control drones than using a traditional joystick controller.