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Control a drone just using the movement of your hand — as long as you’re wearing an Apple Watch

Technology continues to blur the line between science fiction and reality, and now a research group in Taiwan is bringing dreams of becoming real life X-Men closer by the day. Thanks to a new algorithm from the researchers at PVD+, you can now control lights and even a drone with little more than the movement of your hand. Well, as long as that hand is attached to a wrist bearing the Apple Watch. Turning the wearable into a remote control of sorts, you can impress your friends by simply motioning your drone off the ground — it’s not the force, it’s science.

The impressive accomplishment from the small, five-person team has been 18 months in the making. But now, all its hard work has paid off in spectacular form, and group claims that their truly incredible technology can be installed on any device, giving it the power “to control directions.”

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In a stunning video of its software, Mark Ven, a member of PVD+ who is pursuing a doctorate in civil engineering at the National Chung Hsing University, controls a Parrot AR Drone 3.0 simply by the movement of his Apple Watch bearing hand. The algorithm allows the smartwatch to convert human movement and gestures into signals the drone can understand and respond to. Effectively taking the whole “clap-on, clap-off” technology previously applied to lights to a whole new level, the possibilities resulting from this new innovation are seemingly endless.

“Previously we’ve needed complicated controls to fly drones, but now we can use a wearable device, and through human behavior and gestures directly interact with them — using a hand to control and fly drones directly,” said Ven. Leading to an ever more connected Internet of Things, Ven says that the group has done even more interesting things than just flying a drone with your hands. “When I write an English R in the air,” Ven demonstrates, he can turn a red light on. “And when I write an English Y, the yellow light turns on.”

While the tech isn’t perfect quite yet, it’s a pretty amazing start. Who knows what else we’ll be controlling with a gesture in a few years?

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