Drones have come a long way in the past few years. As their batteries continue to shrink and become more lightweight, companies are stuffing them with more and more tech. GPS, stabilization, high-def cameras — the list goes on and on. But despite all these technological advances, there’s at least one big thing that hasn’t changed much over the years: the controllers we use to fly these things. Most RC aircraft (drones included) still use the same old dual-joystick controllers that pilots have been using for decades.
Chinese electronics company Yuneec wants to change that. In an effort to make piloting a drone easier and more accessible than ever before, the company has developed a new device called the Typhyoon Wizard — a controller that allows users to pilot Yuneec Typhoon drones with simple “point-to-fly” commands that can be executed with just one hand.
It’s basically a complete overhaul of the traditional RC flight controller, built from the ground up for casual drone pilots. Instead of using two thumbs to control roll, pitch, yaw, and acceleration, you simply point the controller in the direction that you’d the drone to fly. Altitude, acceleration, and flight mode adjustments can all be performed with buttons under your thumb, so pretty much everything you’d need to do can be performed single-handedly.
If you don’t have a single hand to use, the Wizard controller also boasts a number of hands-free functions, such as Watch Me (drone stays put, but pivots to follow you), Follow Me (drone moves where you move), and Dynamic Return to Home. “Simply clip the Wizard on your backpack or stick it in your pocket and watch the Typhoon follow you on your next hike, bike ride, or surfing lesson. It truly is that easy to use,” said Shan Phillips, CEO of Yuneec USA.
And the best part? You don’t have to wait around for a crowdfunding campaign to finish up before you can get your hands on one. Yuneec has already completed a full production run, and the Typhoon Wizard will soon be available online for about $200. That’s fairly spendy for a controller — but how else do you expect to fly a drone while you’re kitesurfing and drinking a Red Bull at the same time?