Astrodrone – An iOS Game for Scientific Data Collection

(Sadly, the project was abandoned by ESTEC in the last years and now is completely non-functional on iOS after several updates from Apple. I expect that the Android version has suffered the same fate.)

For my Masters Thesis in Artificial Intelligence, I developed an iPhone game for the Advanced Concepts Team of the European Space Agency in Noordwijk (NL). The game was finished and released in 2013 on the Apple AppStore, and has received one major update to expand to the Android Phone Market, targeting the Google Play Store in 2014.

Astro Drone after connecting to the Parrot.AR Drone
Astro Drone main menu

The goal of the project was to develop a method to utilize crowd-sourcing and obtain data for research in the area of computer vision for robotics. To have a matching data collection platform for that purpose, we developed the game to be used with a robotic quadrotor platform, the AR.Drone 1, which was one of the first affordable flying helicopter drones for the consumer market. The game uses the helicopter’s front-mounted camera to observe the user’s environment and compute 2D features which are compressed and stored, and if the user agrees to do so, sent to a central database for the purpose of later analysis by researchers.

Message that is shown to a user before data is uploaded to the central research database
Message that is shown to a user before data is uploaded to the central research database

All in all, my Masters Thesis project was the first huge development project that I carried out. The biggest part of it was design and executing the actual programming work. Unfortunately, the project seems to have been abandoned since the last update, in 2014.

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