You can pretty much do anything with your iPhone these days. Control your digital video recorder from afar, unlock your car, and now, fly a drone. Parrot, a company known more for its Bluetooth handsfree car speakerphones, has launched a small, unmanned aircraft that can be controlled using an iPhone or another of Apple Inc.’s WiFi-enabled gadgets, including the iPod Touch and the iPad.
The Drone is $300 USD and has it four separate propellers and its on wifi build in! So you’ll never lose connection. Flying is easy just download the free app from ITunes, charge drone, open app and your off! Landing is just as simple, with one on-screen button that slowly lowers the drone to the ground or theres a button when you get in a mess that shuts off all the motors and the drone drops.
The controls take a while to master. The easiest way is to tilt your iPhone to control the flight. There’s also an advanced mode, which lets you control the drone with a virtual joystick. It’s possible to guide the drone by looking at the video feeds. Weighing less than a pound, the gadget can fly up to 11 mph, controlled from up to 150 feet away. The drone has two built-in cameras that stream video of what it sees directly to your iPhone, or another Apple device.
There are a few downsides. The battery only lasts about 15 minutes when fully charged, so if your flight requires a long drive to an open football field or parking lot, it might not feel worth it. You can, however, buy extra batteries for $30 each.For now, the app used with the AR.Drone only controls flying movements and displays feeds from the on-board cameras.But I find the future possibilities exciting.
Parrot plans to update its app with augmented reality games. You can race other actual drones or chase and shoot virtual enemies that appear superimposed on the video feed from the drone.Parrot also has made its technology for the AR.Drone open source, meaning any programmer can build his or her own games or find other ways to use and control the drone.
I could see one that lets users record the video feed or take screen shots while flying.While it comes with a hefty price tag, the open platform puts the AR.Drone in the category of promising gadgets for those with extra cash to spend.