It's all drones all week at TED, with experts asking if these things will save us or destroy us. But as shown in this remarkable talk delivered teleremotely by quadriplegic Henry Evens, they have the potential to expand the worlds of bedridden people by giving them the sense of flight.
Henry Evans became a mute quadriplegic in 2003 after experiencing a stroke-like illness. Eager to get on with his life, and inspired by the potential for high-tech assistive devices, he founded Robots for Humanity — a group that helps bedridden people like himself use telepresent robotics and camera-equipped aerial drones to navigate the world and have richer experiences.
Evans uses a computer to control the drone with his head, and he watches a screen to see what it sees. He uses it to check in on his garden, inspect the solar panels on his roof, and even play some robotic soccer. Looking to the future, he hopes to see more advanced technologies "level the playing field" for individuals like himself.
At the end of the talk, and in expected dramatic TED-like fashion, Evans controls a drone right in front of the TEDxMidAtlantic audience. Awesome.