Wifi controlled Helicopter for the Ipad and Iphone - AR Drone
As smart phones increase in popularity developers are coming up with ever more ingenious applications for them. One of the newest and most interesting concepts is that of a French company Parrot who have been developing a Helicopter designed to be controlled by the Iphone, Ipad or Ipod touch via an app available on the apple appstore.
What's on Board the AR Drone
The AR Drone helicopter consists of 4 propellers that help to with lift and provide easy in flight steering for the pilot. Also on board are 2 cameras. One is forward facing and the other points directly down from the craft. Both cameras stream video directly to the ipad or iphone controlling the device. The whole thing runs on rechargeable batteries and is controlled by an app which can be purchased through the apple app store which uses wifi to connect both the helicopter and ipad or iphone and allows seeamless control.
The App for the AR Drone
The app for controlling the helicopter was designed by parrot to be open source in order to allow developers to play around with the concept further.
The company has already made a few simple games which take advantage of the cameras on board the helicopter to deliver a game based on video streaming to the device. These games use a concept known as "augmentated reality to mesh the digital and real worlds together. The first game they produced is an aerial dogfight simulation in which the user has to pilot their helicopter well enough to lock on to enemy planes and launch missiles.
So far the games are relatively simple, but Parrot is hoping that fans of the device will get on board and start developing more apps for the AR Drone.
Check the video below to see the AR Drone in action as well as the augmented reality game app.
The AR Drone and Beyond
The AR drone is only the tip of the iceberg. It can be vastly improved. And the developers have made it so that the helicopter can be upgraded by anybody. The open ended app will no doubt allow for ingenious and new ways of meshing the real world and the digital.
Right now the AR drone is designed just for fun, but the potential exists for so much more. As the design improves and more technology is developed, so to will the myriad of ways devices like this can begin to start filling practical roles in our lives.
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