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November 8, 2017

A drone you can’t crash? It’s finally here, thanks to AR and smart glasses

by John_A

Do you want a drone, but are too worried about either breaking it or something around you? The good folks at drone company DJI, Epson, and Y Media Labs are here to help — courtesy of the world’s first augmented reality drone for smart glasses. The three companies announced in early November that they have teamed up to create an AR drone flight simulator app for the Epson Moverio BT-300 smart glasses, which allows you to rack up hours of drone flight without the need to actually shell out for a real drone — or extra home insurance.

“Drones are expensive,” Sheila Mikailli, marketing lead for Y Media Labs, told Digital Trends. “If you’ve just invested a thousand dollars on a new drone, the last thing you want to do is crash your brand-new toy. The simulator allows drone users to practice flying and polishing their skills in a safe environment. Unlike other drone apps controlled through your phone, this truly immersive experience allows users to get comfortable with how their drone actually flies because the physics are accurate and the simulator is controlled by the DJI drone controller, not through the phone.”

One of the nifty things about the app is that it’s not just a generic drone you’re flying, with cartoony flight dynamics and handling. Instead, it offers fully realized versions of real DJI drones, including the Mavic Pro, Phantom 4, Inspire 2 and Spark. There are a couple of mini-games thrown in as well, so you can practice your drone flying skills by flying around picking up powerups. Oh, and did we mention the possibility of multiplayer drone flying?

“We can see this expanding beyond a singular experience,” Mikailli continued. “Friends who have Epson’s Moverio BT-300FPV smart glasses can fly and race drones together all within the comfort of their living room.”

The simulator app will be released on the Moverio Apps Market later this year. In the meantime, if you want to try out the technology for yourself, you can head to any DJI store to give it a go for yourself.

While we certainly don’t see this replacing people’s desire for physical drones, as a practice tool or simply a bit of entertainment when it’s impractical to use a real drone, this could be a whole lot of fun.

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