MIT students love being one step ahead of the others when it comes to technology. And what better way to show off their skills than make use of a drone as a campus guide?
Working of the SkyCall
The SENSEable City Lab worked on a unique drone which they call the SkyCall. The SkyCall acts like a personal guide for students who need to navigate around the maze-like campus. All you need to do is have a custom app on your phone. Once you’re in the range of the drone, you can call it to come and guide you. The drone picks up on your GPS coordinates and comes right up to where you are standing. You can then give it further instructions on where you want to go and it will personally guide you to your destination.
The drone has been programmed to hover a few steps in front of the person so that it is not difficult to keep up with it. In fact, if it feels like you are falling behind it will encourage you to step up and close the gap between the two of you. And thanks to the app on your phone, you have complete control of the drone. You can make it hover in its place or stop flying for some time if necessary. Moreover, in addition to being the perfect personal tour guide, the drone also communicates with you through the app by giving you information about any landmarks that you pass on the way.
Features of the SkyCall
This drone comes equipped with a GPS navigation system, WiFi, a camera, on board autopilot and sensors to help to navigate and fly smoothly. It uses sonar sensors in order to stay away from bumping into walls.
There are of course a few drawbacks to this drone. One drawback is that it cannot go through solid substances so the drone may need assistance in opening a door that lies in front of you. Another drawback is thatit sometimes tends to break free from the path of the GPS coordinates and flies away on its own. Another challenge is to get the drone to interact and communicate with people.
Some people have gone to the extent of saying that SkyCall is a bit gimmicky. But according to members of the SENSEable City Lab, this drone has been used in order to show the world that the kinds of applications for drones are innumerable. In the recent past, drones have for some reason or the other earned a negative reputation. However, the fact remains that they can be put to a lot of good use if they are constructed and handled properly.
One plan is to develop drones so that they can monitor air quality and algae bloom. If this is managed, drones can soon be used in a number of environmental scenarios for different kinds of uses. This will not only make it easier to study various aspects of the environment, but it will allow this technology to develop into useful equipment that can be practically used in daily lives.