Skycall- Oculus rift and Razer Hydra bird flight simulator.

SkyCall Around The MIT Campus

MIT students love being one step ahead of the others when it comes to technology. And what better way to show off their skills than make use of a drone as a campus guide? 

Working of the SkyCall

The SENSEable City Lab worked on a unique drone which they call the SkyCall. The SkyCall acts like a personal guide for students who need to navigate around the maze-like campus. All you need to do is have a custom app on your phone. Once you’re in the range of the drone, you can call it to come and guide you. The drone picks up on your GPS coordinates and comes right up to where you are standing. You can then give it further instructions on where you want to go and it will personally guide you to your destination.

 The drone has been programmed to hover a few steps in front of the person so that it is not difficult to keep up with it. In fact, if it feels like you are falling behind it will encourage you to step up and close the gap between the two of you. And thanks to the app on your phone, you have complete control of the drone. You can make it hover in its place or stop flying for some time if necessary. Moreover, in addition to being the perfect personal tour guide, the drone also communicates with you through the app by giving you information about any landmarks that you pass on the way. 

Features of the SkyCall

This drone comes equipped with a GPS navigation system, WiFi, a camera, on board autopilot and sensors to help to navigate and fly smoothly. It uses sonar sensors in order to stay away from bumping into walls.

There are of course a few drawbacks to this drone. One drawback is that it cannot go through solid substances so the drone may need assistance in opening a door that lies in front of you. Another drawback is thatit sometimes tends to break free from the path of the GPS coordinates and flies away on its own. Another challenge is to get the drone to interact and communicate with people.

Some people have gone to the extent of saying that SkyCall is a bit gimmicky. But according to members of the SENSEable City Lab, this drone has been used in order to show the world that the kinds of applications for drones are innumerable. In the recent past, drones have for some reason or the other earned a negative reputation. However, the fact remains that they can be put to a lot of good use if they are constructed and handled properly.

One plan is to develop drones so that they can monitor air quality and algae bloom. If this is managed, drones can soon be used in a number of environmental scenarios for different kinds of uses. This will not only make it easier to study various aspects of the environment, but it will allow this technology to develop into useful equipment that can be practically used in daily lives.

MIT develops the SkyCall Drone


SKYCALL, le drone guide

Sur le campus du MIT, ils réfléchissent à faire les visites guidées par des drones.



SkyCall, which has been built by MIT research group Senseable City Laboratory, is a drone designed to help Harvard students find their way around MIT’s campus. Lost visitors can summon it using a custom app, and this use of the technology shows how drones can help us better understand our own environments. The quadcopter tour guide can efficiently locate, communicate with, and show visitors around the campus, along predetermined routes or towards user-determined destinations. A SkyCall app enables visitors to make specific requests, and it helps the drone locate and wirelessly communicate with them. When the user presses the ‘call’ button, SkyCall instantly accesses the GPS location of their phone and relays spatial coordinates to the nearest available drone. The quadcopter utilizes onboard autopilot and GPS navigation systems with sonar sensors and wi-fi connectivity, enabling it to fly autonomously and communicate with the user via the app.

MIT 校園迷宮救星:無人導航機


最近在美國著名理工大學──麻省理工學院( Massachusetts Institute of Technology,以下簡稱 MIT )的校園裡,出現了一台台在空中緩行的「親切」導覽員。它們是 MIT 的 SENSEable City Lab 近來正積極進行,一項名為「 SkyCall 」的計畫,幫助參觀者在「人類史上最困難、最易迷路的迷宮」── MIT 校園中找到方向。

MIT 校園地圖

這款名為 SkyCall 的新奇計畫,採用內建 GPS 和自動駕駛儀的四軸無人飛行機,並透過地面基地台傳送訊號,體驗步驟如下:

  1. 使用者點擊 SkyCall app 上的 CALL
  2. 飛行器接收到使用者的位址,接著「優雅」的飛到使用者面前
  3. 使用者輸入想前往的教室編號,飛行器回應「 Follow me, please. 」接著就會如同一隻空中導盲犬,引領你到目的地。


依序為: CALL 介面/建入教室編號/ 無人機位址

在路途中,這台無人機甚至還會做校園導覽,和使用者介紹 MIT 校園:「電腦科學暨人工智慧實驗室是 MIT 中最大的實驗室,您的右邊則是… 」,如果不喜歡此項「熱心」服務,也可以選擇關閉導覽,自在欣賞 MIT 校園的美。而且假如使用者落後無人機一段距離,它還會停下來,靜待使用者再次跟上腳步。




SkyCall 的示範影片中甚至調侃了一下哈佛學生,在開頭可以看到一個掛著 Harvard 證件帶和 Harvard 徽章的苦主,SENSEable City Lab 的主持人 Carlo Ratti 解釋:

「很多哈佛學生在 MIT 都會迷路,如果你對這裡不熟悉,就很難搞清楚要去的方向,我想我們應該能給他們點幫助。」

此計畫的負責人 Chris Green 表示:


神奇導航 SkyCall 的背後推手

SENSEable City Lab 致力於兩種截然不同的無人機技術,一種為四軸飛行機的自主行動和它們對環境的反應,以及四軸飛行機與人的互動,這兩項研究的暫時成果,則延伸成 SkyCall 這個導覽系統。催生此系統的原因,是有鑑於許多來訪 MIT 的參觀者,都會對校園中的「錯綜複雜」,起初難以掌握方向,而從五月開始研發的 SkyCall 計劃,則想藉此增進 MIT 對訪客的親和力。

「無人機這項技術,擁有巨大的破壞性潛力。」計劃負責人 Chris Green 說,「我們希望利用此技術,來發掘它對城市和居住者的價值。」

SkyCall 的未來

目前 SkyCall 也有得克服的難題,需要使用者的同心協力來躲避障礙物。

「舉個例子,像遇到「門」就必須要使用者的幫助,才能讓無人機通過。這是個「人機合作」的好例子,需要雙方同心協力才能成功。」Chris Green 說。他也表示他們這在努力解決「更複雜的狀況」,像是天空中的物體、動物等,很可能跟無人機產生擦撞。

Chris Green 說:


下面為 SENSEable City Lab 釋出的「導覽」影片:


SKYCALL by Senseable City Lab

“How can we reimagine UAV technology… …to help us navigate challenging situations and complex environments?”


As told by Monica Forest, Chief Librarian of Skycaller Academy:

Oh, you’d like to know more about Ambrose? This is one of my favorite tales, and we are very lucky to have some of the First Scrolls documenting this event! He never wrote about his early history, but we do have a variety of his works regarding the building of the Academy and his first years on Dalifor and…I’m getting ahead of myself.

Ambrose was a sailor and an artisan, a worldly traveler and a creator of beautiful paintings. He lived with his family in a village by the sea but year after year, he watched the giant waves brought by Chaos destroy cities and places he knew from his travels. Eventually, it happened to his own town while he was away, the whole village lost to the sea.

Now alone, he knew he had to do something, even if he might lose himself in the sea just as he’d lost his village. Ambrose had found his Calling: To save the people of this world. He sailed to the Edge of the Earth, to find the God of Order, the only force strong enough to stand against Chaos. He found the God of Order there, and there his Calling took shape, as a Song. He sang of the destruction from the boiling seas, of his heartache and loss now that he had no home. He sang for help…and he was heard.

Heralds of Order, in the form of beautiful birds, came to Ambrose and lifted him into the sky. He watched in awe as the continents rose with him, out of the sea and safe from harm.  The Heralds stayed with him, teaching him the art of Illumination, giving him the ability to create the cards that summon up Soul Guardians.

In the coming months, he would find others that had the same gift, and he knew he had to help train them, just as the Heralds had trained him. He founded Skycaller Academy to give students and Luminaries alike a place to learn and grow. He even constructed this very library that you stand in today.

I could talk about Ambrose all day, but I’m sure you have a class to go to, don’t you Luminary?


so i’m holding a raffle for wind flight’s dom programs! prizes aren’t super amazing (out flight has had at least four raffles in the same two week period, either public like the guild and apparel raffle, or private), but the main prize right now is one of my breeze subspecies!

he will be level 25 (i’m getting there, i’m getting there), fully stoned and statted according to the mire flier build. he’ll also come with a familiar, and his registration seen above.

there are some actually nice prizes (wave sweeper, skycaller chest, a pack of wind themed apparel including a sakura flowerfall)! a lot of stuff good for newbies (food!), some swipp stuff, unhatched eggs.

it’s my first raffle, so if you have any tips, please feel free to give them to me!


Greetings Luminaries! Today we will be showing you through the process of creating the Skycaller Academy grounds.

Going into the development of the grounds, we knew we wanted to have a beautiful, inviting courtyard for our players. While the initial concept sketches had a lovely composition, there wasn’t enough room for character interaction for the final artwork. We adjusted the composition in the second sketch, which gave us much more room for our UI.

After inking and flatting the piece, the color palette was reading too cool. Skycaller Academy is a bright, vibrant place full of energy, so we needed to warm up the colors.

The addition of the statue of Ambrose and the dappled sunlight finished this background up!

We hope you enjoyed looking through our process for this piece. Next week we’ll be featuring Ambrose himself!

This week let’s take a tour around the Skycaller Academy grounds!

The grounds are an expansive grassy lawn with plenty of benches, beautiful greenery and a large fountain. The most recognizable feature is an exquisite statue of Ambrose himself, the newest addition to the grounds which was erected 100 years ago. The statue is the most memorable landmark in the grounds and serves as the common meeting place for students.

The school is set up in almost a ring around the grounds, making it easy to get to each instructors classroom. It’s not a rare sight to see the grounds peppered with all manner of students, either sitting in the grass reading or making their way to classes.

Come back tomorrow to see the artistic process in the creation of the grounds!