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Feb 04, 2014, 10:08 PM
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Wearable RC control

It's a problem as old as time, we all encountered eventually. Now that the venture capitalists have latched on to wearable computing, it's a problem we have to face, whether or not it's any more solvable.

Today's problem is proportional steering & throttle with 1 hand. It begins by tearing down a picco Z controller for sticks. It would be ideal, since it was rugged & used single axis sticks. There's no chance the 8 year old controller would ever be used again.

Sadly, it didn't use potentiometers. Those were encoders. They need a very complicated circuit to decode & the lack of precision was why the Picco Z was so hard to fly. It must have been a lot cheaper to use these encoders & a complicated network of diodes than a proper pot.

The next step for throttle was from a spinmaster from 2009. Progress had reached the point where they could afford a true pot. What a miracle, in the toy business.

To get the proportional steering, the only analog solution was a modern joystick from a Syma X1. Those are still quite an investment compared to the 3 channel copters, so a 2 axis joystick is still a small miracle for a toy.

The problem is arranging the 2 controls to fit 1 hand. This seems to be traditionally done by mocking up the controls in clay or playdough.

The last time someone mass produced a single handed RC control was the Silverlit MI Archer & MI Hover. They used tilt sensing.
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