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Thread: Will iPhone Controlled Helicopter "Fly"?

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    MMi Staff Writer Michael Essany's Avatar
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    Default 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

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