Aircraft marshalling is a visual signal system using hand gestures, usually with illuminated wands. The sweeping motions tell the pilots to go, stop, which direction to turn, or alert them of danger. Hand signals are used because the noise from the aircraft engines renders verbal communication impossible. Marshalling is also used in other industries such as heavy construction, crowd control, and entertainment.
Navy researchers have invented an enhanced marshalling wand. The innovation has the ability to identify the gestures made with the wand, translate them into a code, and transmit this code to a decoding system. The wand is equipped with a gyroscope, an accelerometer, and a magnetometer and can track the large sweeping motions, comparing them to a database of gestures stored in its memory.
The wand will also give audio or illumination responses when gestures are made that require further attention or training. For example, if a person is marshalling a large jumbo jet, and the person holding the wand is motioning “stop,” the wand will recognize the motion pattern, decipher it, and transmit the message. The counterpart system in a large jet would receive this message and visually or audibly notify the pilot to stop.
The invention’s patent includes expanded claims for the controller system to act as a texting device, stylus, music wand, and surgical scalpel.
- Enhances the communication between ground marshal and pilot
- US patent 8,456,329 available for license
- Potential for collaboration with Navy researchers