Paralyzed Man Flies Drone Using Virtual Reality

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Paralyzed Man Flies Drone Using Virtual Reality
May 29, 2017
Agustin Zanoli (pictured) who lost the use of his arms and legs during a quad bike accident can now satisfy his need for speed by flying  a drone at speed of almost 100 miles (160 kilometres) per hour using only the movement of his head

 

Agustin Zanoli had always been an adrenaline junkie, racing across rough terrain on motorbikes and hurtling himself down mountain sides mounted on skis.

And when a tragic quad-bike accident left him paralysed, he decided he would not let this hold him back from pursuing his passions. 

Now, with the help of an electronics specialist and some engineering ingenuity, he can satisfy his need for speed by flying a drone at almost 100 miles (160 kilometres) per hour using only the movement of his head.

 

On January 10, 2012, Mr Zanoli was 18 years old and spent his summer vacation in Carilo, a seaside resort on the Argentine coast.

 

During a quad race in sand dunes the Argentinian, now 24, lost the use of his arms and legs.

 

At the end of 2015, he met Daniel Sequeiros, an engineer in aeronautics and micro-electronics, who specialises in designing drones for recreational and agricultural use.

 

He began to work on a technological challenge, thinking up ways to allow a person with quadriplegia to fly a drone. 

 

The resulting system means that Mr Zanoli can pilot a quadcopter, complete with an on board camera, which can reach a speed of 93 miles (150 kilometres) per hour.

 

And the Cordoba resident is now considering joining a drone racing league, a hobby that is rapidly gaining popularity in his home country.

 

Speaking about the experience, he told AFP: 'Driving a racing drone gives me the same adrenaline as the quad bike or the bike. 

 

'It's good.' 

 

Operating a drone, much like playing a video game, requires a high degree of hand-eye coordination. 

 

So when Mr Siqueiros was told that Agustín could only move his head, he believed it would be and impossible task.

 

But he finally found the solution in the form of a virtual reality helmet hooked up to a tension trigger that is placed inside Mr Zanoli's mouth.

With the help of an electronics specialist and some engineering ingenuity Mr Zanoli (right) learned to master flying racing drones. VR glasses allow him to view the camera feed from the drone directly
The speed of the drone is altered by varying the tension of the jaw, like a foot being placed on the accelerator pedal of a car

 

The VR glasses allow the wearer to view the camera feed from the drone directly.

 

Its direction of travel is controlled by tilting the head and the speed is altered by varying the tension of the jaw, like a foot being placed on the accelerator pedal of a car.

 

By biting down the speed increases and relaxing your grip makes the drone slow down.

The drones direction of travel is controlled by tilting the head and it can reach a speed of 93 miles (150 kilometres) per hour
Mr Zanoli (pictured) is currently studying engineering, his goal since his teenage years, and will soon finish his fourth year. He also plays football in armchair, known as powerchair, for the national Argentinian team
 

Mr Siqueiros worked on a volunteer basis, admiring Mr Zanoli's determination and the fact that he never complains about his handicap.

 

He does not intend to patent his device, as he hopes that the technology will be duplicated elsewhere in the world, so that other people who are paralysed can share the experience.

 

Speaking about his invention, he said: 'It's fantastic to be able to put this technology at your disposal so that he can fly and feel this feeling of control and adrenaline without any risk.  

 

Five years later on from his accident, Mr Zanoli is not hoping for a miracle, instead adapting to his situation.

Aeronautical engineer Daniel Sequeiros (left) worked on a volunteer basis, admiring Mr Zanoli's determination and the fact that he never complains about his handicap.

Mr Sequeiros does not intend to patent his device, as he hopes that the technology will be duplicated elsewhere in the world, so that other people who are paralysed can share the experience

 

He is currently studying engineering, his goal since his teenage year, and will soon finish his fourth year.

 

He also plays football in armchair, known as powerchair, for the national Argentinian team.  

 

'At the time of the accident, I realised that it was serious, I could not move, but I did not think it would be so serious,' Mr Zanoli added. 

 

'What I wanted was to do again what I did before, in an adapted form, according to the possibilities.'

 

FLYING HIGH 

 

  • On January 10, 2012, Agustin Zanoli was 18 years old and spent his summer vacation in Carilo, a seaside resort on the Argentine coast.
  •  
  • During a quad race in sand dunes the Cordoba resident, now 24, lost the use of his arms and legs.
  •  
  • At the end of 2015, he met Daniel Sequeiros, an engineer in aeronautics and micro-electronics, who specialises in designing drones.
  •  
  • He began to work on a technological challenge, thinking up ways to allow a person with quadriplegia to fly a drone.
  •  
  • The resulting system means that Mr Zanoli can pilot a quadcopter, complete with an on board camera, which can reach a speed of 93 miles (150 kilometres) per hour.

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