Battling AR helicopter controlled by iPhone

Helicopter makes full use of the iPhone's accelerometer

The new AR Drone helicopter combines an iPhone and virtual games to make a product that's drawing much attention at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The helicopter, or what France-based Parrot calls a quadricopter has four fans that allow it to fly in all directions.

Under development for four years, the most impressive aspect of the AR Drone is that it streams real-time video from its two cameras back to the iPhone or iPod Touch that is controlling it. Tilting the iPhone to use its accelerometer controls the helicopter's flight.

In single-player mode, gamers play against a computer, but in two-player mode two friends can pit their helicopters against each other

The unit comes with two augmented reality games, one of which pits players against a fighter jet that needs to be shot down. Augmented reality is when there's computer generated imagery added to a view of the physical world.

"The idea is to explore a new area of video games. Video games that you do with things, video games that you do outside your computer display," said Henri Seydoux founder and CEO of Parrot.

The AR Drone has a full on-board computer and uses an Arm926 core processor and Linux. It also has a three axis accelerometer, two gyroscopes and an ultrasound altimeter. The front camera produces a 640 x 480 pixel video at 15 frames per second while the bottom camera shoots at 176 x1 44 video at 60 frames per second.

"It uses a cellular phone CPU, memory, sensors and it has a very powerful CPU as you have on a cell phone and it permits it to bring this level of flight quality, but also processing for the augmented reality," said Seydoux.

The software running on the iPhone is open source so Parrot hopes that developers will create more games for the helicopter and adapt the software to run on other devices .

The helicopter has autopilot features that include automatic take-off and landing, auto leveling and stable flight 1 meter above the ground after take off and automatic stabilization on release of controls.

The AR Drone will be available this year, but the company wouldn't say when or for how much.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags iPhoneiphone apps

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nick Barber

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?