Flying helicopters: there's an app for that

Staff Writer
16 Feb 2010

One of the more interesting aspects of the post-iPhone handset phenomenon is that developers are looking at ways to take these functionalities into new territory. Like, say, turning a handset into a helicopter remote control for playing augmented reality games. Consumer electronics company Parrot has done just that with AR.Drone, a remote controlled UAV helicopter that can be flown using an iPhone or iPod Touch as the controller. The drone links to the iPhone via Wi-Fi and can be controlled both by the iPhone's touchscreen and the accelerometer. But the hot item is an onboard camera that provides a POV view on the iPhone screen - which allows users to play augmented-reality games as they fly the drone. The AR.Drone comes with two games and sports a duel mode so you can fight another real-life drone in the game. And because the drone supports Open Game API, Parrot is also offering an SDK for developers to come up with their own games for the drone (incentive: developers keep 100% of revenues).

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