UAV Operator Ergonomics

In the photo above a Tablet EX Gear chest pack customer is using a chest pack equipped with the companion Hands Free Accessory to support a 10” iPad.

Recent advancements in UAV technology has stimulated a revolution in what I would describe as “on demand remote sensing”.  I know of many Foresters in Western Canada that now consider a UAV to be an essential part of their field kit.

They are using the real time imagery to assess the condition of forests and infrastructure, which then allows them to zero in on the areas of interest.  These can then be visited on foot or examined more closely with imagery captured by the UAV.   This saves time and provides significantly better information than conventional assessments and it is far less expensive than using a helicopter!

There are an almost limitless number of other uses for this technology.  It seems that hardly a week goes by that I don’t hear of another application that UAVs are revolutionizing.  This week it was the potential to use UAVs to assess salmon returns in rivers that caught my attention.  Have a look at this video to see some remarkable imagery captured as the UAV followed a school of Salmon up a river.

One thing that the majority of these applications have in common is the need to view the imagery captured by the UAV in real time.  This is necessary to aid in Piloting the UAV and in order to ensure that the right imagery is captured for post mission analysis.  In many cases the importance of this imagery is driving UAV pilots to larger tablets.

However, this creates ergonomic and fatigue issues, as the pilots need to support the tablets and UAV controls with their hands.  With advances in technology flight times are being extended which adds to fatigue and ergonomic challenges for pilots.  Some pilots have discovered that the use Tablet EX Gear ( chest packs go a long way towards solving these challenges.

This leaves his hands free to operate the UAV controls without the burden of the additional weight of the tablet and the tablet is placed in a position that allows the screen to be easily viewed.  The chest pack also provides a comfortable way to transport the tablet to a launch site, which might require hiking through the woods to find a suitable clearing.

A significant challenge with viewing the images on tablets is glare.  For the UAV pilot pictured above the solution was to add a wide brim to his hardhat.  A better solution might be a shade screen fitted to the Hands Free Accessory.   The reduction of screen glare greatly improves the ability to review the imagery captured and could make the difference between identifying a critical issue while on site or missing it!

At Tablet EX Gear we would love to hear from more UAV pilots.  We need to learn more about the needs of UAV operators in order to produce new UAV specific models of our popular chest packs and accessories.  If you could share your UAV piloting experience with us, please get in touch.

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