Piezo-fiber bracelet lets you control drones with gestures

To remotely control drones using hand gestures, without pressing buttons, you need a certain suitable sensor. In some devices this is a high-resolution camera, in others it is a good old accelerometer. And Swiss engineers from the Empa research center suggested using a high sensitivity piezoresistive tape.

A team led by Frank Clemens has developed a technology for printing three-dimensional fibers with a piezoresistive function. In its finished form, the complex of such fibers looks like a wrist watch strap, which is worn on the wrist, and not on the fingers. Any mechanical action on the fibers changes their coefficient of electrical resistance, which is easy to track. All that remains is to connect the system for interpreting such signals to drone commands.

The Swiss are proud of the incredible sensitivity of their sensors, especially when comparing the criteria for recognizing gestures with other controllers. Instead of active, articulated gestures, it is enough to slightly turn the palm or clench your fingers into a fist. Both plus and minus - drone operators will literally have free hands, but they will need special training for aerobatics using the Empa bracelet.

The developers plan to debug the algorithms for tracking the sequence of gestures - due to the specifics of the design, the system perceives a double fist swing as two separate gestures. The more combinations are available to operators, the closer will be the moment when it will be possible to master aerobatics. But the commercial application of the technology is out of the question.