The machines are taking over: AR Drone lands at techAU

Probably one of the geekiest purchases made of late, the AR Drone has now landed at techAU HQ. If your not familiar with this beast, its a iPhone/iPad controlled...

AR Drone

Probably one of the geekiest purchases made of late, the AR Drone has now landed at techAU HQ. If your not familiar with this beast, its a iPhone/iPad controlled flying drone with some amazing technology on-board. Not only can the drone hover in mid air on its own, thanks to its stabilisation technology and sensor array it can also deal with being pushed sideways aggressively.

iOS applications allow you to see through either of the 2 on-board cameras (fwd and down) and navigate obstacles with on-screen controls. There’s also 4-multi-coloured LED’s underneath to let you know how AR’s feeling.. not really, they change colour or flash to indicate information to the user.

Under-cover there’s a battery that unfortunately never lasts long enough, but hey, we’re used to that right ? I opted to get a spare so the fun can continue while the other is charging.

When it comes to connect your iOS device to the drone, you’ll notice the drone actually has a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. The network ID will be ARDrone-{randomnumbers}. You can modify this in the iOS application.. in the application (we’ll get to this in a second). The iOS application will check for new firmware versions, if there is one, it’ll download over your normal Wi-Fi networks and then send to the AR Drone. After a quick restart, your away and racing, or hovering.

To control the AR Drone, you’ll need to download an iOS app, there’s a free one called Free Flight. More importantly there’s actually a SDK available for software developers to write there own apps and already there’s a decent variety to choose from.

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Some have like Drone Escape has Game Centre support, another Flight Record has the ability to record the video from the drone. An iPad app Matrix Flight HD even features animations, so you can show off to your friends at the touch of a button. Developer Stefan Casutt didn’t stop there, he also added LED animations.. hey why not, LED’s are awesome.

The apps range in price from $1.19 to $5.99.

If your flying skills aren’t L33t, then you’ll want to familiarise yourself with the ‘Emergency’ button. This acts like a panic button and will kill the props, making your drone fall from the sky. Just make sure its over land when you do this.

Lets talk about the overall price of AR Drone. This kind of enthusiast gadget rocking awesome tech, doesn’t come cheap – $350, the extra battery, another $50.

More information @ ARdrone.com

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GadgetsGaming

Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.