Photo: Fernando Avendano/Shutterstock

Toys For Grown-Ups: The A.R. Drone Quadricopter

by Candice Walsh Jan 25, 2010
Robots aren’t just sex and eye candy. Some can even battle other robots, in midair.

Remember those remote-controlled helicopters? The ones that you could control with a remote, and they’d be all fun until you got distracted and steered your expensive aircraft nose-down into the sidewalk?

Enter the incredibly advanced Parrot A.R. Drone, a quadricopter which can be controlled by WiFi from an iPhone and iPod Touch (and possibly soon from Blackberry and other applications). It’s easy to fly, and uses augmented reality to fight other Drones or to play “search and rescue” and hunting games. In other words, it’s just good fun.

The Drone is equipped with two cameras to give the user a view from above, using streaming video to serve as a sort of “real life” video game. It also comes with other fancy do-dads, like two ultrasonic transmitters for stability, a two-axis gyroscope, a three-axis accelerometer, and another single-axis yaw precision gyroscope to top it all off. I’m not really sure what that all means, but damn, it sounds fancy.

To control the Drone: hit the take-off button so the Drone hovers at three feet, then use the controls to rotate left and right, climb, and then use a button to tilt and fly the quadricopter in any direction.

The Drone can even be used indoors, as it comes equipped with shields around its rotors to allow it to bump against other objects. There’s no word of a release date yet, but expect to pay anywhere from $400 or more.

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