Guy Hacks Google Glass to Steer Drone

Outfitted with Google Glass, Blaine Bublitz controls a drone softly floating in the air before him with just a slight tilt of the head.

Bublitz, from the coding company IcedDev, used a JavaScript code to turn Google Glass into a basic control system for a quadcopter drone, thus allowing him to control the device by moving his head.

In July, Bublitz attended International Nodebots Day, a hacking event in various cities throughout the United States where attendants use a JavaScript program called node.js. Bublitz wanted to experiment with different input devices to control robots, all while using JavaScript to create a program he could tweak for different controllers and vehicles.

Bublitz started with a control program that would interpret his waving in front of a LeapMotion tracker, and he used a wheeled robot to test his code. He successfully made it move back and forth.

However, there were a few hiccups. As Bublitz notes on his blog: “I couldn’t see where the bot was while controlling it. I needed something that could be about eye height, so I could see its movement while controlling it.” He used an AR drone as his bot of choice, and he also added up-and-down movements for optimal steering.

He converted the program to send commands to the AR drone via Google Glass, allowing him to control the bot with a nod of his head.

Although the results look pretty amazing, Bublitz admits he still needs to make some improvements:

Turns out that I was driving the drone at full speed in each direction I tilted my head. I should have had the speed at about 0.3 instead of 1. Lesson learned. I would have also liked to add the ability to rotate the drone left and right based on the Glass’ azimuth value, but I guess that will have to be in the future.

If you have Google Glass, you can download Bublitz’s control program from his GitHub profile.

Although this is the first Google Glass-controlled drone we’ve seen thus far, we’ve encountered a robot that can be controlled via brainwaves, which it interprets as motion commands. Perhaps we’ll all be performing these Jedi-mind tricks in the near feature.

Homepage image: Vimeo, Jason D


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