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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fly a helicopter with your iPhone



Over the weekend I was perusing the gadgets at a local Brookstone store and came across an item that will go on my "if I win the lottery" list. The gadget in question? The Parrot AR.Drone quadricopter.


Exclusive to Brookstone, this is one of the coolest remote control flying toys I've seen. It has a built-in WiFi system and you control it using the accelerometer in your iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad. With two on-board cameras (one facing down, one facing forward) you can see where you're flying in real time on your iOS device.


Onboard processing lets the AR.Drone generates images directly into the real time streaming video for a gaming environment that simulates air-to-air missiles, interactive targeting systems, and fiery explosions.

The Parrot AR.Drone is said to use technology similar to that used in military drone aircraft. It has a four-rotor quadricopter employs dual ultrasonic altimeters, a three-axis accelerometer, multiple gyroscopes, and an embedded Linux platform to continuously stabilize itself during flight.

Brookstone currently is selling this as a limited edition, pre-order item with a ship date of September 3. At $299 plus the cost of your iOS device, it's a pretty expensive toy that will be scarcely seen. If it had the capability to record the inflight video, however, it could be very useful for news, surveillance and real estate applications (hint, hint).

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 18, 2010 12:23am]


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