Researchers from the Media Innovation Studio took to the skies this week as part of the Harris Flights project in the heart of Preston. Showcasing the AeroSee drone/UAV research project, and equipped with a couple of Parrot AR.Drone 2.0s, Clare Cook, Andy Dickinson, John Mills and Paul Egglestone introduced the project to those passing through the Harris Museum’s ‘Flights’ installation.
Over a four-week period, the museum and Preston City Council (PCC) have erected a staircase that leads directly into the first floor gallery. Designed by the In Certain Places temporary installations and supported by series of events, performances and art installations, the PCC suggests the project hopes to “fantastic focal point in the city centre throughout the summer, for people to socialise, meet with friends and enjoy a coffee, or eat and read a book during lunch breaks”.
The Media Innovation Studio team were invited to come and present the AeroSee project on September 4th and 5th, which – along with the university’s Engineering : Innovation Centre – is exploring how drone technology can be used in a range of scenarios, spanning occupations such as journalism, wildlife conservation and search and rescue.
Paul Egglestone said: “It’s great to be running these demo’s on our home turf – or should I say in our home air space – and a real privilege to be part of something as cool as Harris Flights. The whole event is a great example of collaboration between the University, Preston City Council and the community. And judging by the amount of people we’ve had testing their piloting skills it’s really captured peoples imagination and been a huge success.”
Using the Parrot drones, smartphones and a minute or two of tuition, Prestonians of all ages took up the challenge and hovered about the Harris – becoming drone pilots for a few minutes at a time.
The team will be conducting a range of trials over the coming months, including an international visit to Kenya. We’ll also be showing the technology, in Journalism’ association with search UAV manufacturer e-Migs, at the EPSRC’s DE2013: Open Digital All Hands, taking conference in Salford between November 4th and 6th. More details on when and where the team will be presenting will follow once confirmed.
In the meantime, check out our slideshow for pictures of the two-day show and tell…