TATTS is a volunteer run, non-profit organization that brings new emerging technoology and opportunities for social skills to kids on the autism spectrum. We utilize unmanned aerial systems (UAS) or "drones" to offer kids concrete examples of perspective taking and we work on social skills throughout the construction, flying and processing of the aerial imagery taken from our UAS. Our ultimate goal is to lay the groundwork for a possible organization that can provide jobs to these talented kids.
Phase One: Building the UAS
Kids work in teams to evaluate all the components that make up our UAS, soldering components, screwing all the pieces together, and testing that it all works. We take it slowly and double check our work.
Phase Two: Flying
We schedule many different outings (we call them missions) to fly the UAS. First and foremost are test flights. Once we know the UAS is functioning well, we head to rural locations to fly. Those included local farms, wetland preserves, large parks and off-the-beaten-trail locations where we are consistent with FAA policy and where there is no concern about bothering other people, safety and privacy issues.
The primary goal of our missions are two-fold; 1) get the kids to experience the act of flight through both actually flying the UAS as well as the First-Person-Video (FPV) that the UAS collects from the sky, and 2) collect good footage that the kids can incorporate into their own film.
We also talk a lot with the kids about what they experienced and how it felt to fly. We helped them compare their experiences with others.
Each child has a role during missions including pilot, co-pilot, safety crew, and equipment crew. We want everyone to be involved all the time.
Phase Three: Make Movies
As we compile footage from the air during our missions and of the kids doing the flying, we edit the content to short clips and have them produce their own short films. The kids utilize footage, still photos and open-source music to build their own mini-movies. The level of involvement by kids in this phase is dependent on their interest level. We've seen kids on the autism spectrum make some beautiful films and self-expressions.
Long Term Plans
Our long term plans are to evaluate the viability of spawning a business from this project that could employ these kids as they grow up. Curent FAA regulations don't allow for the use of this technology in a commerical manner but opportunities will develop as the market matures. We believe the use of UAS in many different parts of life offer an excellent opportunity for people on the autism spectrum to be employed - maybe even own and operate the company!
Another way to understand TATTS is to read and watch the original post that we used on KickStarter to spark the awesome fund raising campaign.