A new virtual-reality app gives users a drone’s-eye view for $9.99. The developer says the app can help to make aerial inspections more accurate.
The app, dubbed CloudlightFPV, runs on a smartphone and couples with the $120 VR One headset from lens manufacturer Carl Zeiss AG, Oberkochen, Germany, to let drone operators see through the lens of a drone’s onboard camera.
The app splits a drone-mounted camera feed into two circular fieldsof- view to work with the VR One headset. It overlays a cockpit-style series of vital signs from the drone onto the display, such as battery life, speed, and pitch and yaw. There is a head-tracking feature that synchronizes the gimbal’s position with the headset, so when a user turns his or her head, the gimbal-mounted camera will rotate in the same direction.
“Most lenses are like a bubble, and the tip on the cone is the optical sweet spot,” says Dave Hodgson, principal, Total 3D Solutions, Auburn Hills, Mich., a multimedia business partner of Zeiss. “Zeiss engineers have created a flat cone for the VR One headset,” says Hodgson. No matter how wide apart a user’s eyes are, he or she sees through the “sweet spot” and gets a clear picture. The VR One headset is compatible with the iPhone 6 and 6S and the Samsung Galaxy 5, S6 and S6 Edge.
Though the app controls the camera’s position, drone flight is controlled through a handheld remote control. The VR One headset also has a goggle-mounted camera, so the point of view can switch between what the drone sees and what’s in front of the operator.