Contribute to Human Flight

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by Brian Drake, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. Brian Drake macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2009

    I'm a wingsuit pilot (sample video) who is always looking for ways to utilize technology to improve my flying.

    Currently, my best tech training tool is a GPS logging device which allows me to record my 3D position every second of a skydive/BASE jump for later download to my computer for analysis and overlay onto Google Earth. Of most interest to me is plotting my horizontal speed, fall-rate (vertical speed), and glide ratio (how many feet forward for every foot down, aka L/D). Though uncontrollable factors like wind and atmospheric conditions prevent truly objective analysis, this data is still a quantitative measure of performance which helps in the training process.

    With logging, data is analyzed after the fact. During an actual flight, fine-tuning performance is very subjective as I only have my eyes and the "feel" of the flight to judge from (on a solo, performance jump). In skydiving, visual judging is very difficult since the ground is far away. In the BASE environment, it's more practical to judge performance since there are closer landmarks, but it is still "eyeballing it".

    So the "holy grail", as I see it, is a live feedback device. Ideally a Heads Up Display (HUD) of sorts.

    I have the display device (an LCD "monocle") and the bluetooth-enabled GPS device suited for the positioning/reception requirements I need. I only lack a way to acquire the live GPS data, calculate the current horiz/vert speed and glide ratio, and output display of those three numbers as a video signal I can plug into the LCD display I have positioned in front of my eye.

    This is where the idea of an iPhone/iPod Touch app came to me. The iPhone/iPod Touch has bluetooth so it would be able to connect to the GPS device, and it is capable of outputting video through the Apple Composite AV Cable. All that would be needed is to write an app that does the "middle-man" job.

    After telling this idea to a friend, he pointed me to this article, which gives me further confidence that the iPhone/iPod Touch is a capable platform.

    I don't know the capabilities of the iPhone 3Gs GPS, so it's possible the onboard GPS is sufficient. But even if it is, I currently don't own either an iPhone/iPod Touch and I'd prefer to spend only $199 on an iPod Touch, than to buy an expensive phone I won't use. So the bluetooth connectivity is a fairly necessary element to the app.

    I'm posting here because I don't know how to write iPhone apps and I'm hoping someone here would be interested in contributing to this project.

    This is a completely non-profit endeavor for me, so while I'd be interested in hearing some quotes, I'm more interested in someone who is looking to build their portfolio, gain some experience in App development, and/or contribute to a cool project. The developer would retain full ownership of the App, so any future earnings would be theirs.

    In addition, if this project works as planned, I will do whatever I can to bring high exposure to it within the tech world, the outdoor sports world, and even the aviation community. So there is possibility (but not guarantee) that this exposure would be profitable to the developer in some way.

    If you're interested in helping (or have a reasonable quote), please contact me at


  2. chrisesposito macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Hi Brian,
    check your inbox. I sent you an email with a few questions about this. Sounds like a cool thing to work on.

  3. dejo Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    The Centennial State
    The Bluetooth connection to the GPS is going to be your biggest hurdle. Currently, Bluetooth with the device is very restricted, only working with headsets.

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