Turning the Parrot AR.Drone into a spacecraft

A new app developed by the European Space Agency turns the Parrot AR.Drone quadcopter into a simulation of a spacecraft.

(Credit: ESA-Anneke Le Floc'h)

A new app developed by the European Space Agency turns the Parrot AR.Drone quadcopter into a simulation of a spacecraft.

Chances are you're probably never going to pilot a spacecraft. But if you have a Parrot AR.Drone quadcopter toy, controllable with a smartphone, a new iOS app from the European Space Agency (ESA) lets you pretend for a little while.

AstroDrone for iOS is part of the ESA's crowdsourced data-gathering project, where the space agency is using data collected from users at home to teach robots to navigate their environments.

Controlling the quadcopter with the app, the user practices docking the AR.Drone with an imaginary International Space Station, as though the AR.Drone were a spacecraft. As you attempt to pilot the drone, you yourself are in orbit around the Earth, meaning a bit of coordination is required.

Team research fellow Guido de Croon said in a press release; "Here, at ESA's ESTEC technical centre in the Netherlands, we happen to have a ceiling-mounted scale model of the Space Station to manoeuvre around — not everyone is so lucky. But with AstroDrone, anyone can share the same experience."

AstroDrone for iOS (Free)

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Via www.esa.int

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