April 2, 2011, Guapo, Arizona– Investigators working under a DARPA grant are experimenting with an advanced flight control system using Wii technology. Professor Laurentz Fine, titular director of Pultroon University’s Ornithopter Institute (PUOI), disclosed results to the public today on recent aerospace advances at PUOI.
Professor Fine disclosed that important breakthroughs have been made in a new type of flight control system design that may influence how aircraft of the future are flown. The prototype devised at PUOI uses motion and position sensors placed on various locations on the arms, hands, and head of the flight crew. Vibration sensors on the throat are fitted to to the pilots detect the low frequencey growling sounds used for powerplant control input.
According to Professor Fine, the crew members may be placed in a prone position or may be seated in an upright position while operating the aircraft. Additional sensors may be placed on the legs and feet of the pilots and weapons officers for more channels of control input.
In a typical mission profile the pilot would don a pressure suit fitted with Wii sensors that report the position and acceleration of the limbs. The pilot would buckle into a specially designed ejection seat that would allow for the desired freedom of motion. The pilot would extend his arms horizontally to either side and issue engine commands by producing gutteral sounds on the throat sensors.
The system has only seen use in simulators at this time, but Professor Fine anticipates applications with remotely piloted vehicles and manned surveillance vehicles by 2016. Fine suggested that a model for helicopter applications was in the works, but declined to comment further. He did admit that uncommanded input caused by turbulence was a difficult problem, but progress has been made to control this issue.