If you’ve heard of Parrot, you’ve probably associated the brand with Bluetooth hands-free phones or perhaps digital photo frames, but what you couldn’t possibly imagine was what they just presented at CES, the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. Parrot AR.Drone se controla a través del iPhone
This toy (although for lack of a price tag it’s risky to call it that) is controlled through an iPhone and iPod touch application that combines the accelerometer and the multi-touch interface to direct it at will as far as the Wi-Fi connection on the phone will go (I imagine around a hundred metres in the open, but no official data). So far it seems fun but be careful because there is more, much more…
The AR.Drone has a front camera that transmits to the phone the images it captures in real time at 15 fps, so we don’t even have to maintain visual contact with the helicopter; we can control it by observing the terrain from the pilot’s point of view. Moreover, Parrot joins the cart of augmented reality offering us a series of games in which reality and fiction are intermingled. Imagine the classic “little Martians” only controlling the AR.Drone to finish them off before they take control of your living room.
A second camera, in the lower part of the device, together with an inertial measurement unit allow to calculate the relative speed of the AR.Drone and to stabilize its flight, for example, by compensating the wind turbulences when we take it out. According to Parrot, this technology is normally used in professional and military applications, but they have adapted it for the first time to the world of entertainment.
Made of carbon fibre and high-strength plastic, the Parrot quadricopter has two interchangeable fuselages , one for indoor flight (where it is more protected in the event of a collision with an obstacle) and one for outdoor flight (which reduces its surface area by offering less wind resistance). It is capable of reaching 18km/h and its lithium-ion battery gives it 15 minutes of autonomy , which is short considering the bad things I can think of doing with one of these.
And the best thing for the end: the automatic pilot . The AR.Drone is able to land itself and when we remove our fingers from the iPhone’s screen it automatically stabilizes and remains in stationary flight at a height of one meter. Of course, if the Wi-Fi connection is lost, the autopilot also takes over by stabilizing it before gently landing the device on the ground – it even has an ultrasonic sensor!
In short, the only thing missing from this Parrot invention is a night vision mode and a pair of missile launchers (even if they are rubber). Too bad we don’t know dates or prices yet, but I’m telling you right now, I want one .
Thanks to David Dominguez for the warning!