Control Parrot AR Drone with Epson Moverio

Developer trsohmers has further ventured into the confusing world of Augmented Reality and merged the popular Parrot AR Drone with Epson’s Moverio glasses to create the perfect geek toy. We had a quick chat with him about the state of the project and what he has coming up.

Now for the juicy part: For a little over a month, I have been working with Epson on a new Wearable Computing/Augmented Reality device, called the Epson Moverio BT-100 that allows you to basically wear an Android device on your head, and you see the display through a transparent head mounted display, which simulates a large (~80″ from 10ft) display. It is pretty sharp, and while a bit bulky is a wicked awesome device to use. One of the first big things I have done with the device is to use it to control the Parrot ARDrone, which is a really amazing experience as you can both physically see the drone and its/your environment, plus see the two cameras that are on the drone. While the actual control is still a bit funky, I plan on fine tuning it for the Moverio… Here’s a quick video that I made (sorry for the quality, really bad camera)


We spoke to trsohmers earlier to see what he’d been up to and to tell us more about the project:

So how long have you been working on this project when did you get your kit from Epson?

Well I was contacted by Epson at the end of January and they were interested in my history in Augmented Reality and Wearable Computing plus my experience with Android.

Wow, that’s cool.

I got the device February 9th and been having fun with it since.

What work have you done previously with AR?

Well I’ve been doing work with WearComps and AR before I got into Android over the summer of 2009 I built my own head mounted display system called the EyePC it was a monocular device that clipped onto my glasses which was hooked up to my iPod Touch at the time. Shortly after making that I got my first Android device the Motorola Droid and got into Android. I was then also invited to present my device at MIT and was asked to continue developing some wearable computing display for the Institue for Soldier Nanotechnologies which is an army research lab at MIT.

Before Epson contacted me about developing this I didn’t work on any AR stuff for about a year. I was mainly focusing on some Android projects some Kinect hacks and other projects even though it was really my first field of interest and design area.

Have you played with Qualcomm’s Vuforia SDK?
I’m currently using it to make AR games for my dissertation.

I have played around with it a bit haven’t done anything productive with it though (laughs).

The Armed forces seem very interested in AR I’ve seen a few papers of uses they’ve developed for it.

They are interested in it but don’t see all the possibilities and seem to want to focus on other areas.

How easy was it to work with the Parrot system? I haven’t looked into it do they give you many APIs to play with?

Yea they do it’s a pretty open system. They actually just announced the ARDrone 2 which is going to be adding a ton of features and more capabilities for developers plus better hardware. Tthe worst thing about the drone is the battery, 1000mAh lasts about ten minutes

All It must require a tonne of power to spin up those props power the camera and the wireless.

Yeah it does though I would prefer lower max altitude for longer battery life.

What do you think of all the speculation on Google Glasses?

Should I tell you what I think or what I’ve been told to say? (Laughs)

What ever gets you in the least trouble.

Well I really love consumer commercial applications of augmented reality and it is finally becoming something realistic and I truly think it is going to be a revolutionary new platform. The Moverio is really just the first generation of devices to allow this sort of interaction.

While I am not going to comment directly on the Google Glasses, Moverio show what is going to be out in nine to twelve months and give developers the opportunity to get things ready and imagine what is possible.

Well I won’t ask you any more about it then.

Basically Epson wants to have this be a big developer device, because this is a first generation device it isn’t super fancy and not something a lot of consumers will get but the technology is just going to get better and better smaller and smaller and this tech is here to stay and dominate.

Imagine what generation two, three or four are going to look like, what their capabilities could be.

At the rate of progression of Android I’m sure it won’t take too long to get there.
Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

I am planning on working more with the ARdrone on the device giving a better user experience I am also working on getting the Kinect to work with itm to give you a more natural user interface.

And I want to see if I can do this. Twelve years ago ARQuake was expensive and slow. Imagine what can be done now!

What won’t Quake run on?

(Laughs) yeah Quake and Doom the first real tests of any device.

trsohmers hopes to release his work soon after further bug fixes.]]>

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