Astro Drone Crowdsourcing Game

Astro Drone Crowdsourcing Game

The European Space Agency (ESA) is looking for citizen scientists—who also own a Parrot AR.Drone Quadricopter—to contribute to future space exploration by playing the agency’s Astro Drone game. The game is part of a scientific crowd-sourcing project. People who possess a Parrot AR drone can play the game, in which they are challenged to perform different space missions in an augmented reality. Available via the Astro Drone Apple iOS app, the game will help the ESA’s Advanced Concepts Team (ACT) investigate whether it is possible to learn the distance to objects just by looking at their appearance in a still image.

The game’s first release contains the training level, in which players learn to dock to the International Space Station (ISS). New levels will be added incrementally with new releases. An Android version is in the works, although there is no estimated date for availability.

Astro Drone players can choose to contribute to a scientific crowd sourcing experiment that aims to improve autonomous capabilities of space probes, such as landing, obstacle avoidance, and docking. The app processes the images made by the AR drone's camera, extracting abstract mathematical image features.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Paul K. Gerke, I.G. Sprinkhuizen-Kuyper, Guido C.H.E. de Croon
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: European Space Agency / Radboud University Nijmegen
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Fieldwork
  • COST: More than $50
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages

    Participation in this project requires access to a $300 Parrot AR.Drone Quadricopter, as well as an Apple iPhone or iPad. For additional information see the project’s Web site.

See more projects in More than $50FieldworkAll Ages.

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

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