MIT Professor Missy Cummings (a former F-18 Hornet Navy Pilot), and her team of 30 students and undergrads, have successfully demonstrated how an iPhone could be used to control an unmanned area vehicle, or UAV.
As part of their work at MIT's Humans and Automation Lab (HAL, heh), the team thought about ways to improve on the suitcase-sized controller that soldiers must currently lug around to control hand-thrown Raven UAVs.
The iPhone app they developed sends GPS coordinates to the craft, which then in turn can send photos and video back to the iPhone.
We had the idea in June," Cummings told Danger Room. "In six weeks, we went from the idea to a real flight test," using MIT's indoor robot range. (See video.) The total cost? $US5,000 for a new, commercially available, quad-rotor robot - plus the cost of iPhones for her crew.