Guiding light: Skoltech technology puts a light-painting drone at your fingertips

September 23, 2020

Skoltech researchers have designed and developed an interface that allows a user to direct a small drone to light-paint patterns or letters through hand gestures. The new interface, DroneLight, can be used in distant communications, entertainment, and even search and rescue: https://youtu.be/SdnIqLjtGeU. The paper was published on the preprint server arXiv.org and presented at IEEE International Conference on Robot & Human Interactive Communication (IEEE RO_MAN 2020).

Drones are becoming ubiquitous both in industrial and consumer applications, and engineers are working on ways to make human-drone interaction as natural and reliable as possible. Yet, as the paper notes, "up to now, the available technologies have not made it possible to control drones intuitively without special training and additional control equipment."

"Flight control is a challenging task as user has to manipulate with the joystick to stabilize and navigate drones. Only a very skillful operator can maintain smooth trajectory, such as drawing a letter, and for the typical user it is almost not possible," says Professor Dzmitry Tsetserukou, a coauthor of the paper.

Tsetserukou, Roman Ibrahimov, and Nikolay Zherdev with the Skoltech Intelligent Space Robotics Laboratory have developed a system that allows easy interaction with a micro-quadcopter with LEDs that can be used for light-painting. The researchers used a 92x92x29 mm Crazyflie 2.0 quadrotor that weighs just 27 grams, equipped with a light reflector and an array of controllable RGB LEDs.

The control system consists of a glove equipped with an inertial measurement unit (IMU; an electronic device that tracks the movement of a user's hand), and a base station that runs a machine learning algorithm. This algorithm matches the user's gestures to pre-defined letters or patterns and directs the drone to light-paint them. In their experiment, the engineers defined five different letters (S, K, O, L and J), training a Random Forest Classifier algorithm to connect the hand gestures for these letters to corresponding drone trajectories.

The team plans to further develop their system by adding more user gestures to the dataset, adding more letters to its 'alphabet', and creating a more precise and faster machine learning algorithm.

"The most fascinating application can be DroneMessenger, when partners can not only exchange messages and emoji over the distance but also enjoy the light art during a starry night. Another application is a show of drones when an operator can generate dynamic light patters in the sky in real time. You can also imagine another system, SwarmCanvas, where users located in remote places can draw a joint picture on the canvas of the night sky. Currently, drone show systems just reproduce predesigned trajectories and lighting patterns," Tsetserukou notes.
-end-


Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech)

Related Gestures Articles from Brightsurf:

Guiding light: Skoltech technology puts a light-painting drone at your fingertips
Skoltech researchers have designed and developed an interface that allows a user to direct a small drone to light-paint patterns or letters through hand gestures.

​NTU Singapore scientists develop artificial intelligence system for high precision recognition of hand gestures
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system that recognises hand gestures by combining skin-like electronics with computer vision.

Children improve their narrative performance with the help of rhythmic gestures
Gesture is an integral part of language development. Recent studies carried out by the same authors in collaboration with other members of the Prosodic Studies Group (GrEP) coordinated by Pilar Prieto, ICREA research professor Department of Translation and Language Sciences at UPF, have shown that when the speaker accompanies oral communication with rhythmic gesture, preschool children are observed to better understand the message and improve their oral skills.

Gestures heard as well as seen
Gesturing with the hands while speaking is a common human behavior, but no one knows why we do it.

Oink, oink makes the pig
In a new study, neuroscientists at TU Dresden demonstrated that the use of gestures and pictures makes foreign language teaching in primary schools more effective and sustainable.

New dog, old tricks? Stray dogs can understand human cues
Pet dogs are highly receptive to commands from their owners.

Sport-related concussions
Concussions are a regular occurrence in sport but more so in contact sports such as American football, ice hockey or soccer.

Economists find mixed values of 'thoughts and prayers'
Christians who suffer from natural and human-caused disasters value thoughts and prayers from religious strangers, while atheists and agnostics believe they are worse off from such gestures.

Do as i say: Translating language into movement
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a computer model that can translate text describing physical movements directly into simple computer-generated animations, a first step toward someday generating movies directly from scripts.

Gestures and visual animations reveal cognitive origins of linguistic meaning
Gestures and visual animations can help reveal the cognitive origins of meaning, indicating that our minds can assign a linguistic structure to new informational content 'on the fly' -- even if it is not linguistic in nature.

Read More: Gestures News and Gestures Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.