Talk about hitting the sweet spot! Parrot, who we mainly know for wireless accessories, has just been demoing a gadget that is 1, controlled by an iPhone, 2, uses Augmented Reality and 3 is loads of fun.
The AR Drone Quadricopter (that’s a four propeller helicopter to you and me) is a very cool device that is sure to be one of the year’s hottest gadgets. It is controlled by either an iPhone or an iPod touch and boasts two cameras – one for controlling the device and another which streams images back to the iPhone/touch. Basically if you tilt the phone then the Quadricopter tilts, raise the iPhone and the copter rises etc.
It is going to be available in the second half of 2010 in both the US and the UK and works as either standalone remote control toy or as part of game. If users choose the latter option then they can compete against other copters in virtual airspace over the web using a specially created Parrot site.
Parrot is also issuing an SDK in the hope that developers will create even more fun uses for the device. There’s no firm price yet but I heard a figure of around $500 being mentioned.
It’ll be interesting to see how many other AR devices controlled by an iPhone follow. I suspect we are witnessing the birth of a new product category here.
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