Parrot's AR.Drone, one of the coolest iPhone-controlled boy's toys demonstrated at CES and E3 earlier this year, launches in the UK this coming August for £300.
The AR.Drone is an iPhone-controlled quadricopter which also promises new opportunities for augmented reality games, with Parrot opening up the platform to any interested games developers that might want to incorporate their flying machine into AR games on the iPhone.
£300 is clearly a lot of money to splash out on what is essentially a very cool toy for grown men who should know better (particularly considering that the AR.Drone launches in the U.S. this September at an equivalent dollar-to-sterling price point of $300!) there are clearly lots of iPhone users who will derive considerable amounts of pleasure from flying these things around their local park.
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You can see what we originally thought of Parrot's AR.Drone from CES earlier this year.
The iPhone app used to control the drone comes free with the device, and there are two games also being made available at launch - AR.Drone Gate, a single-player game in which you fight enemies to defend your home base, and AR.Flying Ace, an app that lets you engage in large aerial battles with other drone owners.
Should Parrot's new iPhone toy sell well, then there will no doubt be plenty of third-party developers looking to make use of the open SDK to create further games to play with the flying wonder.
DRONING ON: Parrot's new iPhone-controlled flying toy
The AR.Drone features a front-camera which broadcasts and streams what the drone is seeing onto your iPhone or iPod touch screen. The flying machine is controlled by four propellers with brushless motors, offering "great manoeuvrability and stability during piloting," according to the manufacturer.
Beginner's flying mode
The AR.Drone also generates its own Wi-Fi network, and the controller app has two modes:
- Beginner: which features two tactile piloting buttons to control the accelerometer and the direction of the AR.Drone and,
- Ace: an expert mode with a single tactile button to pilot the AR.Drone
The iPhone-controlled quadricopter also features electroluminescent diodes (green at the front, red on the back), situated on the landing gear to help you position this flying wonder in the air (and for when you are attempting to make seamless landings in the park, to impress the ladies!).
Interested? Got £300 to burn on a cool toy this August? Then check out www.ardrone.com for more on stockists and for more info on Parrot's plans for its AR.Drone Pilot Academy.