Parrot’s AR Drone brings flying games to the real world! This automated 4 blade helicopter sports a camera and WiFi hotspot. The player connects over WiFi using an iPhone app and watches a live video feed on the phone. The software then looks for paper tags (other Drones or static markers) in the real world to engage in battle. Space ships and robots are overlaid on these “tags” in the live video feed, thus creating the augmented reality. The player can launch missiles to shoot down intruders. The stabilization software is quite good, making the AR Drone easy to fly. Remote control helis are notoriously difficult to control, but they appear to have worked out all of the bugs! The control mechanism will take some getting used to since it uses the iPhone’s tilt mechanism as a bi-directional input for each axis. The axis is selected by pressing a button on the screen.

  • No ETA on pricing or delivery dates.
  • They claim the inability to carry payloads (darn, no nerf launcher), but imagine the advertising opportunities.
  • Flight time is limited to 15min, but rechargable batteries are quickly replaced.
  • They claim no military applications, but if I was doing house to house searches I’d want one. It’s not very quiet, but most of the time bad guys know you’re in the house anyway.

While the gaming aspects of this are interesting, I think it’ll end up being used for surveillance a lot more than gaming. Coming soon to a curious 13 year old in your neighborhood!

 

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