Parrot AR. Drone Video Equipped Remote QuadriCopter
October 28, 2010
Who doesn’t get a kick out of a video streaming Wifi controlled flying toy? A friend of mine recently picked one of these Parrot AR. Drones up and I had the chance to fly it around. It’s really tons of fun! Kids can easily learn to fly these things. The Parrot AR Drone is a remote controlled Quadricopter that streams real time video to it’s controller so you can see where you’re flying. The Wifi controller can be an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad (the iPad is really cool with it’s large screen). It’s easy to sync up once you’ve downloaded the Free remote application from the Apps Store. First turn on the AR Drone, and then turn on the Wifi on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. Connect to the AR Drone (it will appear as a WiFi hotspot). Once you’ve connected, go and launch the application and it will connect. Very simple and fast.
The AR Drone Quadricopter is super stable and will automatically level itself out and stays in one place if the unit loses connection to the remote, or if you remove your hands from the controller. If you lose connection, just walk closer and then you’ll be back in control. If the unit is too high and loses connection, it will return itself to a manageable height so you can walk over and get back in control. I believe it can scan the floor somehow to see what’s below so it doesn’t just fly off into space.
Flying outdoors with Training Foam Cage
Since the unit can level out and maintain a stable position, you can easily rotate turns in 360 degrees. The video stream is super fast, and as real time as can be. The video streams in amazing quality and very clear even in low light. The item comes with two different bodies. One is a foam cage that protects the units from rookie pilots. I’m sorry to admit, I crashed my friends unit into walls and it took a dive from 20 ft. several times. The drop was no problem with the foam cage, it’s designed to protect the unit for training. If you should need some replacement parts, practically every piece of the Drone is for sale and looks to be easily replaceable too. This thing really takes a beating for sure. Once you’re pretty good, you can swap out the foam cage for a more streamlined aerodynamic body. I think a few flights is all it takes to get the hang of it.
Simple Body without Training Foam Cage
There are other applications in the Apple Apps Store in which you can control the unit and record the video stream that will be saved to your iPhone, iPod, or iPad. You can choose to use the accelerometer to maneuver the Drone by leaning left or right, forward and back. Since it’s a quadricopter it can move in any direction without having to turn around, but you’d want to turn the unit mainly for the video camera to point in the direction you’re flying. Check out the video above which gives you an idea on how to fly it with a remote. These AR Drones can be found here: Parrot AR Drone Wifi Remote Controlled Quadricopter
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