Look, up in the sky: it's the GPS Drone! - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

GPS students try out drone, Google Glass

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GPS teachers and students watch the school's new drone GPS teachers and students watch the school's new drone
GPS 8th grade student Libby Welborn photographs the drone with Google Glass GPS 8th grade student Libby Welborn photographs the drone with Google Glass
The GPS drone (with camera) hovers over the school campus The GPS drone (with camera) hovers over the school campus
GPS junior Anne Miller Welborn tries on Google Glass GPS junior Anne Miller Welborn tries on Google Glass
GPS Junior Darya Bajestani adjusts Google Glass GPS Junior Darya Bajestani adjusts Google Glass
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Chattanooga's Girls Preparatory School is celebrating the addition of two new sets of eyes: one on the ground the other in the sky.

The school's new drone, with a built in camera, can roam, or it can just hang in the sky.  Technology director Daniel Millbank is excited about the possibilities of the school's drone.  The built-in camera has already captured aerial photographs and video of the school's campus from 400 feet in the air.

From the ground, students have been photographing the drone with the school's new Google Glass, the wearable computer.  Both devices were purchased recently at under $1500 each.  For now, the drone is a quicker, easier purchase.  The Google Glass is still in the development stage, and will not be available to the general public until later this year, according to industry sources.

"The drone connects with satellites, if you steer it off course, it will come back to its position, exactly where it was," according to Millbank.  Still, to avoid the potential damage of a drone crash, the school's technology staff created propeller guards with a 3-D printer (avoiding an expensive purchase and a long online waiting list).

Along with the scenic aerial views, the drone is capable of enhancing education as well, with Millbank singling out Civil War geography and history for example.  "From Missionary Ridge to Rome, Georgia, our students can now use the drone camera to map out the paths that soldiers decided to take 150 years ago," Millbank said.

The drone is surprisingly easy to operate  Several GPS juniors were at the controls for the first time, just two days after its arrival.  One even got video of the drone from the school's other recent acquisition, the Google Glass.  That's the gadget that's hard to get.  GPS entered the Google Glass lottery, and won the opportunity to buy one.  Millbank credits some "generous anonymous donors" for coming up with the cash.

Google Glass responds to voice commands, enabling the wearer to take photographs, video, and get information from Google, just by asking, and without moving a muscle.

Early reviews from students are enthusiastic. Junior Ellie Haskins said, "It's here to stay, there's no doubt about that.  Everything is hands free, unlike laptops, iPads, it exceeds all of them," she said."

Millbank said while the drone can be used as a marketing tool, citing the school's colorful upcoming May Day observance, it and Google Glass have unlimited potential as academic devices.  "We're just starting out, we've had them both less than a week.  But the students are excited, and I think we'll soon see all types of innovative educational uses for both."

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