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Quadriplegic develops UAS to observe the world


          It is known that drones can significantly help people and make their lives better. Today I would like to present you a beautiful example of such potential. Stuart Turner, a quadriplegic man, uses camera-mounted UAV to fly around and see the world directly from his bed. Unfortunately, he his completely confined to his bedroom, but thanks to the UAS technology he can at least observe his surroundings with no limitations. In this way the drone replaces his eyes and enables him to overcome Stuart´s immobility. The unmanned aerial vehicle weights 2kg and thanks to it could Stuart soon be looking round the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls or just his neighbourhood, it depends on his momentary decision. Stuart controls the drone by moving his head and eyes with Google Glass. He also hopes that he would be able to replace Google Glass in future with a sort of virtual reality headset, giving him a 3D panoramic view of the locations around the drone. If he was able to make it happen, his aerial experience would become even much more exciting and realistic.

           Stuart has lost the use of his arm and legs over the past 10 years, due to spine and brain disorders including spina bifida, tethered spinal cord syndrome and chiari malformation. Therefore, he was forced to drop out of a degree from computer science, but he didn´t give up. In cooperation with scientists from Brown University, Rhode Island, he strives to develop UAS with a special control software. However the device is still in a phase of testing, the first trials seem to be promising. Stuart Turner has flown it only around a campus, but soon he could fly with his UAV much more farther. Moreover, he also uses so-called telepresence robots, which are remote controlled land-fairing devices, in order to look around far-flung museums such as the Melbourne Museum in Australia, whose staff allowed him to pilot the robot through its halls after-hours. You can imagine how liberating could be such first-person flight experience, especially for a quadriplegic. Although it can´t set him free from his wheelchair, it can elevate his spirit and give him some new purpose to live. He hopes that the drone will be soon able to fly faster, further and higher with better and more precision control.

      If everything will be going well, Mr. Turner would be flying without leaving his wheelchair. Without the drone is surely impossible for him to travel at high speed 20 metres into the air. For now he has to be surgically precise with the head movements and hope that there are not any obstacles or trees nearby. Stuart works as a software tester for Apple and security system tester for large companies. He hopes that he can in this way show the world how could be much-maligned drones useful in daily life and help to make our lives better and brighter. For every killer drone there is a drone-rescuer. And Stuart don´t just uses the advantages of UAV technology for himself, he intends to change a public view and opinions on drones.