Quad Rotors for Humanity

Had fun last week flying Parrot AR.Drone quad rotor helicopters with Henry Evans of Robots for Humanity. Through a web interface created by Brown Robotics with rosbridge and ROS, Henry uses the drones to explore and monitor his home. Not only is Henry fun to hang around, he is a better pilot that I am (for now). More about Henry’s work with personal robotics can be found on the Robots for Humanity page, excerpted below:

“Henry Evans is a mute quadriplegic, having suffered a stroke when he was just 40 years old. Following extensive therapy, Henry regained the ability to move his head and use a finger, which allows him to operate computers… [This] demonstrates how people with severe physical disabilities could use personal robots to gain independence… Currently, Henry uses a head tracker to operate a variety of experimental user interfaces. These interfaces allow him to directly move the robot’s body, including its arms and head… Robots that complement human abilities are extremely valuable, especially when they help us do things that we can’t do by ourselves.”

It is worth noting that the same web interface for driving the AR.Drone can be readily used to drive a PR2 robot. This interoperability is due to the use of rosbridge as a network messaging protocol, allowing robot web apps to speak to a variety of different robots.

Code for this project is available at this repository, and uses rosbridge, mjpeg_server, and ardrone_autonomy ROS packages.

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