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Application of a Leap Motion Sensor for Improved Drone Control

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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Military and civilian drones in use today have been designed to accomplish a wide array of missions. From an engineering perspective, they are very complex systems that incorporate technologies from a wide range of specialized disciplines. Not surprisingly, operating these complex systems requires advanced and extensive training. This thesis research proposes a simple and intuitive user interface utilizing a Leap Motion sensor that allows a drone operator to exploit hisher skills more intuitively. The Leap Motion sensor tracks the position and orientation of the users hands, which, in turn, controls the motion of a drone. The acquisition and processing of the Leap Motion sensor data were performed using a programming language called Processing. In this research work, an infrared-controlled helicopter and a radio frequency-controlled quadrotor were operated using this interface. For the user interface, several prototype electronic circuits based on Arduino microcontroller boards, as well as Processing programs, were developed and integrated with the Leap Motion sensor. The complete user interface was successfully tested and demonstrated. It was observed that the user interface makes the control of both drone types easier and more intuitive.

Subject Categories:

  • Pilotless Aircraft

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