Mastering a remote-controlled aircraft can take
more than 70 hours training. But now the Japanese have built a mini-helicopter
that anyone can fly - as long as they can talk.
The little aircraft is designed to carry microphones,cameras and other equipment into places too hazardous for human pilots to visit.
The pilot on the ground steers the helicopter in the air simply by speaking any of 14 commands into a microphone,such as "up", "down", "hover", and "turn".
A camera aboard the aircraft relays the view from the nose to a monitor in front of the pilot. But a helmet with a screen inside and with camera controls operated by movements of the pilot's head is being developed.
The voice-controlled system uses "fuzzy logic" to help identify the command.Fuzzy logic is a type of computer program in which a microprocessor makes choices and takes action on the basis of probabilities - in this case the likeliest voice command.
The Tokyo Institute of Technology hopes the helicopter will be ready within the next five years.
June 1994 p30
The Samsung ECX-1 is for camera users who want the benefits
of a decent zoom lens but in compact design.
Designed by Porsche,the camera has a 4x zoom lens that ranges from 35mm to a full 140mm for real telephoto work. You don't have to worry about camera shake or underexposed shots: the built in microcomputer works out and adjusts the zoom,shutter speed and flash when the camera is in fuzzy logic mode.
Other modes include one for professional - looking portraits,and a step zoom,which automatically shoots the same subject in up to three focal lengths.The dioptre adjuster on the viewfinder sets the camera to your individual eyesight requirement.
All this and a nice-looking design,too.
July 1994 p62