Most people think of using drones for photography, for commercial purposes like inspections or mapping, for delivery, or for humanitarian purposes (like gathering whale snot!).
Then there’s another branch of drones: the racing community — people who race drones, use them for aerial tricks and even participate in drone combat.
But go beyond that, and there will soon be people who are using drones as a real life video game. That’s all due to Edgybees, an Israel-based augmented reality drone technology company.
Edgybees announced what it claims to be the first-ever augmented reality game for DJI drones, which has pilots flying their drones literally through the air, but virtually through their choice of 30 virtual obstacle courses in the sky.
Of course, this is augmented reality, which means the images of those obstacles will be layered on top of a transparent first person view (FPV) camera feed (presumably so you won’t crash into any actual objects). Along the way, gamers will collect virtual prizes and compete with other drone pilots around the world.
To use it, gamers need a DJI drone (the app was developed using DJI’s development kit), Epson Moverio BT-300 Drone Edition smart glasses (which cost $799) and the Drone Prix AR app.
Here’s what playing it looks like:
DJI announced its partnership with Epson to make augmented reality classes in 2016. Brother also released its own, similar version of the glasses called AirScouter the same year.
Unlike FPV (first person view) glasses used predominantly by drone racers — which completely cover your eyes from the outside world — these augmented reality glasses look more like Google Glass. The augmented reality goggles provide a screen to project what the drone’s camera is seeing (or play a video game of course), while also allowing the pilot to maintain eye contact with the drone.
In the past, the augmented reality goggles had been targeted at commercial uses, such as allowing drone operators who might want to do an inspection to find what they’re looking for while also keeping eye contact with the drone — a requirement if operating under Part 107.
Other companies like Rapid Imaging Software have relied on drones and augmented reality in situations such as emergency response. The company once flew a drone over a flooded town and was able to use augmented reality to overlay a map to show where the streets were supposed to be, as well as mark locations where response teams should look for survivors.
Will you be playing the new Edgybees drone game? Or are you still getting the confidence to fly a drone in 100% reality? Leave a comment below!