FlyJacket: An Upper Body Soft Exoskeleton for Immersive Drone Control

Most human–drone interfaces, such as joysticks and remote controllers, require attention and developed skills during teleoperation. Wearable interfaces could enable a more natural and intuitive control of drones, which would make this technology accessible to a larger population of users. In this letter, we describe a soft exoskeleton, so called FlyJacket, designed for na¨ıve users that want to control a drone with upper body gestures in an intuitive manner. The exoskeleton includes a motion-tracking device to monitor body movements, an arm support system to prevent fatigue, and is coupled to goggles for first-person-view from the drone perspective. Tests were performed with participants flying a simulated fixed-wing drone moving at a constant speed; participants’ performance was more consistent when using the FlyJacket with the arm support than when performing the same task with a remote controller. Furthermore, participants felt more immersed, had more sensation of flying, and reported less fatigue when the arm support was enabled. The FlyJacket has been demonstrated for the teleoperation of a real drone.

Published in:
IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 3, 3, 2362-2369
Manuscript received September 8, 2017; accepted February 10, 2018. Date of publication February 28, 2018; date of current version March 28, 2018. This letter was recommended for publication by Associate Editor M. A. Otaduy and Editor Y. Yokokohji upon evaluation of the reviewers’ comments. This work was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation through the National Centre of Competence in Research Robotics. (Corresponding author: Dario Floreano.) C. Rognon, S. Mintchev, A. Cherpillod, and D. Floreano are with the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne 1015, Switzerland (e-mail:;;; F. Dell’Agnola and D. Atienza are with the Embedded Systems Laboratory, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne 1015, Switzerland (e-mail:; This letter has supplemental downloadable multimedia material available at, provided by the authors. The Supplementary Materials contain a video showing a user wearing the soft exosuit, called the FlyJacket, with its arm support and the environment seen in the virtual reality goggles. This material is 34.6 MB in size.
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 Record created 2018-04-13, last modified 2020-04-20

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