I know this falls a little outside the normal scope of this blog but it’s Friday and this was too good to pass up. The Parrot ARDrone is being billed as the “First iPhone-Controlled Quadricopter Drone”. There’s no need to go much further than that for me, but add a camera to the helicopter and camera-view mode to the iPhone and I’m sold. The most amazing part of it all is the craft’s ability to right itself automatically using it’s built-in array of sensors (not to mention the potential for augmented reality applications given the manufacturer’s third-party development scheme) . It’s not out yet — the site says “coming in 2010” — and no word on pricing but I can’t imagine it will be very cheap. I think I’d be willing to splurge on something like this as long as it was cheaper than the iPhone itself. For more info check out this hands-on test of the ARDrone.
While the Quadricopter and it’s iPhone interfacing abilities are pretty incredible, I wish they had made an airplane version (although not sure the WiFi range would be sufficient for that), small R/C helicopters seem like they’re mostly for bothering dogs and tooling around your living room, not really as suited toward outdoor flight as the video suggests. When I worked at BKWLD with Dusty we got a couple of R/C planes and would fly them at lunch in the open spaces of Roseville. I loved those things, I don’t know why but R/C never seems to get old, I think I was about as excited every time I took that thing out as I was the first time I got an R/C car for Christmas. Since I moved to San Francisco I haven’t been using it; I think it’s in a closet somewhere. I bet the batteries are shot but I might get some new ones and take it for a spin at the park this weekend.