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 PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags iPhoneiphone apps

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?