Parrot, a company known for their wireless Bluetooth devices, blew our minds at CES 2010 with an iPhone-controlled helicopter capable of transmitting real-time video back to the iPhone. The Parrot AR Drone features four rotors – which, technically, makes it a quadricopter – WiFi, two ultrasonic altitude sensors, a front-facing camera, accelerometers for flight stabilization, and a downward facing camera for hover tracking. It can be flown using touchscreen controls on the iPhone, and even has a tilt-control mode that allows you to control its flight by tilting the iPhone in the direction you want it to travel. And, it uses augmented reality to help it navigate its surroundings and play dog-fighting games with your friends’ AR Drones. Parrot’s AR Drone is, at the same time, impressively geeky and slightly scary (in a SkyNet sort of way).
We had the pleasure of meeting up with Parrot to get up close and personal with the AR Drone, and we’re still in awe that a company that makes Bluetooth headsets and speakerphones could develop such an amazing toy. In fact, the “toy” is so amazing that Parrot is in talks with the US military. Can you imagine a future filled with fleets of augmented reality-capable quadricopters buzzing around enemy cities, relaying real-time surveillance back to its iPhone-wielding pilot? We only have one question – when does SkyNet become self aware?
Price is not yet known, but expect the AR Drone to hit market later this year for a pretty penny. We’re already scrounging up change from our couches!