Parrot AR.Drone

An incredible flying quadricopter drone that you can control from your iPhone or iPad
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An incredible flying quadricopter drone that you can control from your iPhone or iPad

Do gadgets get any better than a quadricopter (that’s a helicopter with four rotors) that can fight with another using augmented reality, is simple to fly and that you can control with just your iPhone? No. No they don’t.

Parrot’s AR.Drone is just that gadget. It’s a remote control aircraft with two cameras that uses WiFi for control via your iPhone, iPod touch, Windows phone, BlackBerry etc.

It uses some rather sophisticated technology to fly. As well as the two cameras, there’s also two ultrasonic transmitters for vertical stability, a three-axis accelerometer, a two-axis gyroscope along with a single-axis gyroscope. It’s quite a list!

Controlling the machine is relatively straightforward. It takes off with the touch of a button and hovers. You can then move it in any direction via an app on whatever portable device you’ve chosen - left and right, climb and tilt. It’s so intuitive that it only takes a few minutes to get to grips and you’re flying it like a pro. With Free Flight, you use the onboard cameras to see in front of or below the copter’s current location with the controls on the on-screen display.

The real fun starts when you play the augmented reality game that’s included with it which uses small stickers to create an interactive video game – detecting them in the ground or walls. Even more exciting is the ability of these augmented reality functions to detect other AR.Drones in flight, depending on the applications downloaded it opens up a whole new world: you can take part in wild races in your own garden, or fight against aliens hidden in your living room. It really is the definition of big boy’s toy.