Why our drone future is for real — someday

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wants to ship goods using unmanned aircraft. Some are skeptical, others nervous, but drones already are improving the way we live.

Henry Evans, a quadriplegic, can use a drone to explore even though he can't move his body. He controls it with an Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset.Henry Evans, a quadriplegic, can use a drone to explore. He controls it with an Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset.

In 2002, a stroke-like event turned Henry Evans into a quadriplegic, depriving him of almost all ability to move. Eleven years later, a remote-controlled aircraft has given the former Silicon Valley finance officer a new kind of mobility.

“I distinctly remember lying in bed, wanting to go outside, when it occurred to me that I didn’t need my whole body, just my retinas,” Evans recalls. He posted a note online asking for help, and he got it — in the form of a drone. “I flew around my vineyard, tried to land on a basketball hoop, inspected the solar panels on our roof and came in second in a pole-tagging contest. It was the ultimate exercise of free will.”

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