By Keri Algar
SYDNEY, NSW: The new Parrot AR.Drone uses video streaming from an electronic aircraft to create an augmented reality relayed to an iPhone, iPod touch or an iPad. In other words, it is a remote controlled helicopter controlled from a phone.
The video game vision is streamed from two cameras on the quadricopter, which also features two transmitters for vertical stability, a three-axis accelerometer and a two-axis gyroscope paired with a single axis-yaw precision gyroscope. All in all, the sophisticated technology works to fuse the real world with a virtual screen mode. Players can choose which camera they prefer to view or use both simultaneously on the screen of their Apple device.
Non-Apple gamers need not fear as a spokesperson from Parrot told Current.com.au the Parisian company is currently looking into using other mobile platforms such as Android and BlackBerry Sense.
By downloading the ‘AR.FreeFlight’ app the AR.Drone can generate its own Wi-Fi network without an internet connection – good news for gamers who dare to venture beyond a router’s reach. This being said, a specific propeller protective hull is available for indoor flights and two player battles.
The aircraft is made of carbon fibre and high resistance PA66 plastic.
The Paris based company revealed the technology earlier this year at CES and will be launching it in Australia at the end of November at Telstra and Fonezone stores. The AR.Drone has already been introduced in Europe and the United States.
The big downside to this big boy toy is the battery life: just 13 minutes on a full charge.
At RRP $349, this game is not for the faint hearted gamer.