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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Griffin HELO TC is a chopper you fly with with your iOS device

17

August

griffin_helotc_01.jpgToday Griffin Technology launched a cool remote-controlled helicopter that you fly using the multi-touch surface or accelerometers on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. With the Griffin HELO TC helicopter and the free iOS app, you can amaze your friends or terrorize the office bully with a few simple touches or tilts of your device.

The HELO TC is a twin-rotored helicopter built on a metal frame with a polycarbonate body. Included with the heicopter is the Flight Deck infrared module that snaps on to your iOS device and plugs into your headphone jack to send your control commands to the helicopter. You can griffin_helotc_controller_hires_0.jpgchoose from two modes for flight control. Touch Control uses the multi-touch screen and Tilt to Steer uses the accelerometers. You also can record up to three flight plans for later review. The helicopter has five super-bright onboard LEDs that you can control from the app as well.

The helicopter's built-in battery can be charged using any USB power source, including your computer’s USB port. The Flight Deck module is powered by 4 AAA batteries.

I've tried some of these small, indoor helicopters before and found them very difficult to fly. Griffin says the strong points of the HELO TC are it's simple flight characteristics and easy-to-learn controls that make for stable, controlled flight. The HELO TC app even has an Auto Land feature so you can bring the helicopter down for a safe landing with just a tap. In the video above, provided by Griffin, the chopper looks unrealisitcally stable in the hover shot. Why? Because Griffin enhanced the flight action for effect, which they admit. It will be interesting to see how well it really flies when I get one for a test.

The HELO TC is available now at griffintechnology.com for $49.99 and is planned for a wide retail release leading into the holiday season.

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 17, 2011 5:18pm]

    

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