The legacy Steve Jobs has left us in the guise of the iPhone continues to amaze us in the types of applications and solutions it inspires. When technology converges, incredible solutions are born. And when that technology involves the powerful Internet and the elegant iPhone user interface, a novel, simple and elegant solution arises.
In this case, researchers at Boeing and MIT have designed a controller for a small UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) using the iPhone. The solution is elegantly simple: tilt the phone in the direction you want the plane to travel or raise it to make the plane fly higher, with the view from a camera on the plane transmitted back to your phone’s screen. Or tap a point on a map on the screen, and have the plane automatically fly to the designated spot. Of course, this is all accomplished remotely through the Internet, with the plane flying above a field on the MIT campus in Cambridge and the person controlling it in Seattle, some 2,500 miles away.
This control system is so intuitive that an inexperienced person learns to fly the plane after only a few minutes of instruction. The system can be adapted to fly any airplane, commercial or military.