Parrot: Introducing The AR Drone

For the first time, a consumer product encompasses:

  • A quadricopter made in carbon fiber and high resistance PA66 plastic
  • MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) and video processing to ensure a very
    intuitive piloting of a radio controlled object
  • Wi-Fi and video streaming for a modern interface with an iPhone™ or iPod touch®
  • Images processing software for augmented reality

Parrot’s AR.Drone is a unique combination of fun, iPhone-controlled quadricopter hardware and a promising new platform for augmented reality (AR) gaming applications.

The Parrot AR.Drone launched in the U.S. this September at a price point of $299. (Click here to purchase)

We first caught a glimpse of the AR.Drone turning heads back at CES earlier this year, and we caught up with Parrot again at this year’s E3, where its makers unveiled the release date and pricing information and showed off the AR.Free Flight [warning: iTunes link] iPhone app used to control the drone. The copter will also launch with two other AR titles to start: AR.Drone Gate, a solo game in which you fight enemies to defend your home base, and AR.Flying Ace, an app that enables large aerial battles with other drone owners.

Part hovercraft and part flying video game, Parrot’s new AR Drone is an aircraft that is controlled over Wi-Fi with an iOS app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

By placing your left and right thumbs on two touchscreen buttons, you can make the Drone ascend, descend and rotate. The Drone moves forward, backward and sideways by tilting the iOS device in the direction you want to go.

We expect to see many more games forthcoming for the AR.Drone as well, thanks to an open SDK and robust developer community of over 450 so far. Check out a video of the drone in action along with the Free Flight iPhone control interface  and let us know what you think of the AR Drone in the comments below.

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