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  • Will iPhone Controlled Helicopter "Fly"?


    Doing my best Arnold Schwarzenegger impression, the new toy from technology firm Parrot has me shouting "Get to da choppa!!!" In what has to be one of the most intriguing and futuristic "toys" to roll out in some time, an augmented reality toy helicopter has everyone talking. The "AR.Drone" as its known, is a fully functional toy helicopter capable of being controlled from the iPhone or iPod Touch.

    USA Today is out with coverage of the super cool toy that is getting no shortage of attention this week coming out of CES.

    Moving the iPhone or iPod Touch, which have built-in accelerometers, directs the toy helicopter forward and backward and turning and other directions. Buttons on the iPhone make it go up or down. The chopper has four propellers and two on-board video cameras. One camera assists in flight, the other broadcasts video back to the device. That's where game developers could use the toy's capabilities to create augmented reality games to play in the real world, says Parrot founder Henri Seydoux.
    The ability to connect with friends and fly the chopper as a team creates a whole new effect and environment in which aerial toys can be experienced and enjoyed. Incredibly, despite the advanced technology that brought this creation to life, those who have tinkered with the toy report a surprising ease of use. And for about $500, you can try it out for yourself when the cool but battery-draining AR.Drone hits the marketplace later this year.

    Adding the AR.Drone to a game could get gamers off the couch, he says. "You are not playing in front of a display, you are playing in your backyard in reality, you are piloting in reality. You will see that is much more interesting because you have to factor in the wind and places you can hide for real," Seydoux says.
    Difficult to explain but easy to appreciate, the AR.Drone is being hyped as a futuristic example of where toys and augmented reality gaming are headed in the months and years to come. Obviously, the hefty price tag for a single "game" could preclude an unbridled explosion in the popularity of such gaming technology in the short term. But in the big picture, we could very well be seeing a look into the not-so-distant future of the hottest toys on the market.

    Parrot is demonstrating the AR.Drone at the Consumer Electronics Show and talking to game developers who might want to use the technology. "This will bring imagination to the game space," Seydoux says. "It is a new kind of gaming platform."
    Image via USA Today
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Will iPhone Controlled Helicopter "Fly"? started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 27 Comments
    1. skillz1333's Avatar
      skillz1333 -
      Ok now thats cool !!!, im going to be poor lol i need the apple tablet and this chopper, i just hope no one calls me while im flying it lol
    1. hollow0's Avatar
      hollow0 -
      Nice! But pricey!
    1. viriiguy's Avatar
      viriiguy -
      I'll look into buying Version 2.0
      You know, the one that will be $150 and have higher resolution cameras and better motors
    1. nrowensby's Avatar
      nrowensby -
      Too bad you won't be able to play with your Heli because your iPhone will be at home being a security camera...
    1. Home Skillet's Avatar
      Home Skillet -
      Phone rings..$500 toy crashes to the ground..Crying ensues..
    1. tudtran's Avatar
      tudtran -
      That's so cool. What's next. Control for unmanned aerial vehicles.
    1. TranceField's Avatar
      TranceField -
      A bit too pricey now if the price was around $300... I would probably buy it...
    1. JHoffy1's Avatar
      JHoffy1 -
      I've been flying RC helicopters for years. My least expensive (smallest) one is about $1500. They go up from there. A typical crash is about $50-$75 on the small one and can go as high as $500-$1000 for the larger one. Blades, which usually get damaged in a crash, run anywhere from $20 (small) to $250 (large).

      This chopper will be much more stable (with 4 sets of blades and 2 gyros). Seems like a $500 price tag is not unreasonable.

      Jon
    1. MetallicaFan1991's Avatar
      MetallicaFan1991 -
      Nice!!
      They can do all this with the iPhone but yet no one's managed to make the iPhone control the PS3 via Bluetooth!
    1. MrGadgetFreak's Avatar
      MrGadgetFreak -
      Hi, YES this gadget is absolutely incredible and a MUST HAVE, too !!! Feel free to join us at Twitter

      AR.Drone Battles (ARDroneBattles) on Twitter

      and / or

      Facebook

      AR.Drone Battles | Facebook

      We start local (and later nationwide) battles respectively combats ;-) Can't wait for its release!

      Plz spread the word and join us...
    1. JayWheelz's Avatar
      JayWheelz -
      Quote Originally Posted by A.T View Post
      Nice!!
      They can do all this with the iPhone but yet no one's managed to make the iPhone control the PS3 via Bluetooth!
      I was just thinking the same thing. They really should drop something relative to that. Being able to do that would be sick if you could watch ya Blu-ray's through Iphone from the PS3. But I guess that's what the PSP is for. Also using the Iphone's touch keyboard would be cool.
    1. rwin84's Avatar
      rwin84 -
      really f'in cool
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      Looks pretty cool, I think ppl will play with it for awhile but get bored and move on, especially since you'll have to recharge your phone afterward. I guess some ppl who are willing to pay $500+ for it might use it more often though. Personally I wouldn't pay that much money for something that could ultimately crash to the ground and brake, especially with me controlling it, I just don't trust myself! Plus you have to get up off the couch to use it
    1. thevmax's Avatar
      thevmax -
      Now...about that reception problem!?!
      and...
    1. jayson9's Avatar
      jayson9 -
      Wow, go figure... a cell phone that can fly a plane, turn on a tv, send commands to my vcr and home security system, but still has trouble getting good service and needed multiple model upgrades to finally achieve it original marketed promises.

      It's a damn good thing (for Apple/AT&T) that tv remotes don't make cell phone calls!
    1. Amraam's Avatar
      Amraam -
      Quote Originally Posted by JHoffy1 View Post
      I've been flying RC helicopters for years. My least expensive (smallest) one is about $1500. They go up from there. A typical crash is about $50-$75 on the small one and can go as high as $500-$1000 for the larger one. Blades, which usually get damaged in a crash, run anywhere from $20 (small) to $250 (large).

      This chopper will be much more stable (with 4 sets of blades and 2 gyros). Seems like a $500 price tag is not unreasonable.

      Jon
      Can this do piro flips/tic tocs/pie dishs though?

      JK If I still have my iPhone then, I'll look at buying one
    1. JHoffy1's Avatar
      JHoffy1 -
      Doubt it will be "3D." Would be fun though!

      J
    1. piston597's Avatar
      piston597 -
      ya buy it for 500, nice waste of money, lets get the vip black app along with this toy
    1. javiert30's Avatar
      javiert30 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Home Skillet View Post
      Phone rings..$500 toy crashes to the ground..Crying ensues..
      You have to put your iphone in airplane mode and you will fine.
    1. M4tt Dam0n's Avatar
      M4tt Dam0n -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rota View Post
      When this, a fully 3D 6 channel collective pitch helicopter that comes with a widely supported transmitter you can fly just about any RC plane or heli of any shape or size with, as well as a lipo battery, and chargers for everything is $469, why even bother?
      It doesn't have a camera on it. And the remote doesn't have a screen.

      And as for the crashing "issue". I read somewhere that if the signal gets interrupted. The thing just lands by itself on automatic pilot. So unless youre over a pool or something youre safe.