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 3dconnexion.com:

"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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  • B TW, I think you guys are on the right track.  Anything that can be more intuitive is great and I really like the design ideas.  Great work!

  • Hi F.C.

    In answer to you question, no, the larger surface only has two axis control.  I was thinking of using the 3-axis joystick but incorporating it with the large wheel and thumb control (Left hand side) of the larger surface.  They are very expensive and I am trying to source parts via a broadcast service firm here in Australia.

    One thing I do like, (I have only played with it as a camera controller but imagination it a great thing) is that it seems very intuitive for both planes and multi rotor and even helis.  The large wheel is quite heavily weighted but still fast and accurate.  It is separate from the YAW control and can be set and left.  Any YAW movement is completely separate and only on the thumb.

    I thought if I could use the 3 axis joystick it would add enough control for variable pitch rotors.  Personally, I like having the separate controls rather than just one but that is probably just because I have not tried an all in one controller that works well.

    I found with the joystick that it was hard to yaw/roll/pitch accurately.  I really like having throttle separate.

    The other thing I was debating was the size and weight. The camera controller is big and heavy BUT it feels great to use. Very stable and positive.  The smaller one is OK but it does not have the same secure feel.  I guess the trick is to get it small for portability but still be big enough for stability and accuracy.

  • Here is a picture of the very very first rendering after talking for ages about the concept we had with David (this first rendering was made by David on the 3rd of May, 2012). Wow that was long time ago... Then Tiago jumped in and brought the missing " magics" and so did 3D connexion by supporting us since the very beginning ... Things have evolved a lot since that time :)))

    We bought a 3DR Pixhawk to hook it on the system last month  (Actually we programmed all the functions for Naza / Wookong / A2 and Mikroktoper / Autoquad) , i'll fit the 3DR Pixhawk on the second Little Spyder we have here from Sky Hero (i do not have an Iris + at the moment, sorry ..) to give it a try during the week end. 

    By adding a Hall sensor rotary wheel (or potentiometer based wheel)  it is also possible to manage very well fixed wings things (for Rovers it works in any configuration) . 


  • Having and excuse to travel to the South of France is a good thing, sent you a PM

  • I just forget to say, that there is no need to have 2 sensors to control the multirotor and the camera, depending on the use you ave of it. But we have a mini sensor for gimbal or payload that can be simply added :) System is compatible any flight controller on the market also and also on some military controllers. it can me custom modified anyway like any electronics.... :)

  • Hi,

    as Tiago said, we work on such a thing since long time now. We are 4 involved in this project : i made the first sketches, submitted to David Cook, my partner in USA, who jumped on the boat and we worked further, then we found nobody we could trust enough to work on the code until Tiago arrived, and finally 3D Connexion themselve. it has been a long way to find out how to setup the sensitivity, Tiago worked a lot around the code and well all we can say is that ti's working, and way beyond our expectations.. We did not plan to talk about it before the product release but well with this post we had to say something lol ...

    What we have learned from all prototypes is that RC transmitters as they re are totally obsolete for multirotor usages, and it is very intuitive ( by the way we created " Intuicontrol" company for this particular product).

    We have full telemetry and many useful features and functions also..

    Different versions have been made, but pictures of final products will be released only once the product is in stock and available, we had way too many people ripping off our work the last years because we showed too much, too early ( well this is called " learning business "..) . All i can say, that that we worked damn hard with Tiago and David, and had great support from 3D Connexion since 2012, we continue to work with them and we are preparing something with Sky Hero at the present time, i think this will be the first " version" that will be available on the market.

    If you travel in south of France you can come in and test the system by yourself, we will just ask the person to sign a NDA before testing the system for IP protection.

    Best regards,

    Fabien (E-copter)

  • send it on, like the integration. and now with the space pilot anxious to fly the UAV using the 3d Mouse

  • Actually I've already worked in the past with the SpacePilotPro in a partnership with 3DConnexion in order to control muticopters.

    From my experience, I can tell you that controlling a multicopter with the SpacePilot is by far more intuitive than piloting with both hands in a traditional RC radio. We have proposed to someone that never piloted a drone before during a UAVShow and everybody was impressed, even us, that a 50 years-old woman took no more than 30sec to get comfortable in controlling the machine. The only way to make her stop was to wait the battery get low! I shall mention that she was actually controlling under GPS mode but with some experience it is indeed possible to control both the drone and the gimbal at the same time in Attitude mode.

    You can see the proof-of-concept videos in:


    where you can discover some of the cool functionalities that we've developed not only with the 6DoF sensor but also with the SpacePilotPro keyboard.

    E-copter in France is, at this time, in charge of the final product that shall be announced probably in Q1 2015.
    I'll be happy to provide you more information if you are interested in this product.

  • Alex, does the large joystick twist also? 3 rotations 3 translations kind of thing?

    When I think about controlling flight it seems natural to have a dial/rotation (3rd) and 2 axis movement on the left the rotation being throttle position while directional movement could invoke flight modes, 8 positions should possible. Right hand then can control 3d spacial positioning, with the addition of tilting the rotors the attitude of the fuselage during forward flight changes, this could be scripted via the 6 axis puck for flat forward movements as apposed to pitch and fall, maybe more tilt and cruise. Recently I sent out for some new UHMW parts to be turned so I can finish this setup on the UAV370. 


    The looking towards the future forward this may be make a easier transition to control crafts when gravity is not a factor since directional control is not a function of centralized gravity, rather vectored thrust to change total direction.    

  • I like the direction, the weight and feel I think is important, and I think if the combined position could be also registered by the myo armband this could be a human close loop.

    What does the mounting points look like inside of the controller you are speaking of? I will check the link once I have a bigger screen
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