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Piloting drones safely requires practice, but in urban environments it is less safe and there aren’t many opportunities. A lot of drones now come with a flight simulator that offer practice on a screen, but that doesn’t help to teach you the kind of situational and spatial awareness needed when piloting in the real world.

A new augmented reality flight simulator that enables to pilot a virtual drone through the physical space around you has been launched recently. As part of its ongoing collaboration with global drone leader DJI, Epson, providers of the Moverio augmented reality (AR) smart eyewear platform, has recently launched the world’s first glasses-based augmented reality drone flight simulator app, developed by Y Media Labs exclusively for the Epson Moverio BT-300 (FPV/Drone Edition) smart glasses.

According to company’s announcement on prnewswire.com, the application allows a user to fly a 3D digital drone in the real world using flight controllers from the latest DJI drones. The simulator mirrors the natural, real-world movements of a DJI Mavic Pro, allowing new pilots to learn to fly and experienced pilots to sharpen their skills.

Apart from the glasses, the flight simulator experience includes a fly mode and two mini-games for advanced pilots.  

“This is arguably the first mainstream consumer application for augmented reality smart glasses,” said Eric Mizufuka, Manager, New Ventures, Epson America. “The ability to digitally ‘paint the sky’ is a game-changer in the drone market and will usher in an exciting range of applications. We’ve been very impressed with DJI’s updated Mobile SDK and look forward to continuing to invest in new applications and partnerships in this space.”

The flight simulator is the first application in a series of aerial augmented reality applications being developed by Y Media in partnership with DJI and Epson. A full-featured AR app for the Epson Moverio smart glasses is being designed to enhance the safety, productivity and capabilities of DJI drones for hobbyists and professionals alike.  It is scheduled to be launched by the end of the year.

According to theverge.com, experiencing with the technology resulted in the impression that the field of view was limited (just 23 degrees), so it is required to track the drone closely with your head to make sure it doesn’t disappear from view, but the hologram was responsive and the drone’s behavior in space felt natural.