Rethinking the RC "Controller TX" - SuperMan FM Continued-

Today we were having a discussion about aircraft control via different flight modes. Personally would prefer to change the way input happened when controlling the UAV directly, so that the input is more intuitive in nature. I have seen allot of really well designed controllers recently however little that changes much of the traditional levers and dials, and nothing a single puck. Maybe there is something to that Star Trek control. Above is just a quick conceptual collage. The base was squished as you can see the original here, and was quickly modified to stimulate thought on how a typical RC twin 2 axis stick design could be evolved so that a more intuitive control can be developed. The center puck above is a true integrated 6 axis control, all that can have coordinated intuitive movements for the UAV. 

Here is some of the verbiage from the

"Superior 3D Navigation

SpacePilot Pro’s patented 6-Degrees-of-Freedom (6DoF) sensor is specifically designed to manipulate digital content or camera positions.

Simply push, pull, twist or tilt the 3Dconnexion controller cap to intuitively pan, zoom and rotate, while your other hand simultaneously uses..."

Ordered one today to take it apart, and see how I can hack together a solution, possibly integrating a board computer and a small wifi-bridge/ap so that it can be used as a integrated base station. 

It seemed obvious since the object we are controlling actually operate in a 3D environment that the controller especially when operating FPV or "First-Person-View" should be able to translate that intended movement as turn left right, up down, and with a few that could be atypical due to the way and coordinated function of the device and its ability to tilt or go sideways, possibly to engage linear thruster type dives. 

The Myo and the 6-Axis mouse will be a fun combination, it will be interesting to integrate tactile and and virtual gesture based movements. 

Dev Team


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Comment by armen t on October 28, 2014 at 10:20am
What a great idea.

Comment by Hugues on October 28, 2014 at 10:51am

A normal 2 dof tx stick has already the issue that a move along one dof generates parasitic moves on the second dof; therefore I'm not convinced a single 6 dof stick would be very practical for piloting a drone.

Comment by Greg Nuspel on October 28, 2014 at 12:41pm

I have one of the 3D Navigators for CAD and they are great. Looks like it would be a very interesting application.

Comment by Luke Nyhof on October 28, 2014 at 4:38pm

Awesome, I've been working on a prototype for this for the past year, should be releasing an open source beta of the controller in the coming months, but I am open to collaboration. It's based on a 6DOF optoelectronic interface similar to the 3DConnexion puck systems, personally I believe that their units are a little too susceptible to accidental input due to the lightweight spring support mechanism, this kind of control system would be highly user friendly and intuitive to use and learn. (remember the old PC game Descent and a few unique controllers that came out around the same time)

Comment by Luke Nyhof on October 28, 2014 at 4:40pm might be a better alternative, the pro version is a little heavy...

Comment by Gary Mortimer on October 28, 2014 at 8:55pm

As long as you consider STANAG 4586 all should be good ;-)

Comment by Paul Barsamian on October 28, 2014 at 9:27pm

Interested to see how this turns out.  As a long time RC pilot (sponsored for a while) I'm having trouble visualizing how to have fine enough control for all actions in one hand simultaneously (lots of work for that particular hand to manage in live flight) but I'm keenly interested in being proven wrong.  Questions I have would be around emergent scenarios where you have to make fast and fine adjustments manually to flight in order to try and regain control, would this be practical, usable by a typical human and fast enough to respond to inputs?


Comment by Klaus Stangl on October 28, 2014 at 11:43pm

I'm using a SpacePilot from time to time in a 3D App for things like camera moves. Nice little toy for smooth control. I can imagine that this would help people far away from RC like camera crews with aerials in mind as a entry point. Those people mostly hate our standard-TX even if it's just for something simple like a gimbal control.

But you'll never reach the same precision and fast reaction like a standard TX.

Comment by Superwalloon on October 29, 2014 at 1:23am

Not convinced a single dial control with 6 axis would be very efficient to fly a multicopter, but on that thought do you know about the Windbox USB Joystick controler ? There are some very nice gaming joysticks aimed at flight simulators which might suddently become interesting to use in our r/c world with this Windbox interface.

Comment by Jerry Giant on October 29, 2014 at 3:18am

I have one of these years ago, to build models in Solidworks and others, the problem is it's too sensitive, not applicable in field operation unless you have a stable table. direct integration into mavlink to fly it as a gamepad is possible, but only windows APIs are available.

to make it really work, you need one for copter, and anoter for gimbal/camera.

i have disassembled it, and there are three hall sensors inside, by the way.


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