Wednesday, January 20, 2010

[FAO] Wow Technology : Parrot AR Drone

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Parrot AR Drone could easily be mistaken for one of the many spy satellites hovering around. Well, this drone is a remote-controlled flying object of the harmless kind, one whose directions solely lie with you, the controller.

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What is Parrot AR Drone?

This drone is a carbon-fibre quadricopter (a four-blade helicopter like the one seen in Cameroon's epic 'Avatar'), which can be piloted using an iPhone or an iPod Touch.

How do the 'iPhone' or 'iPod Touch' controls work here?

Thanks to wi-fi, you get live video-streaming from the cameras fitted on the drone, directly in to your device.

Besides the camera on the copter head, there's another vertical eye that faces downwards. This camera lets you measure speed and also compensates for turbulence.

Using the accelerometer and the gyroscope embedded with the hand-held device you can manoeuver the copter by simply tilting the device left or to the right.

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Easy alright, but what if I lose control of the quadricopter?

Well, at least here you wouldn't have to eject yourself.

Even otherwise the quadricopter has an auto-pilot mode, to enable static flight incase the controller loses contact. The auto-pilot further ensures that the object does land.

There are also ultrasound sensors fitted into the quadricopter for altitude control.

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What is the technology behind the Parrot AR Drone?

'AR' stands for 'Augmented reality'

Augmented reality, the technology used, merges the real-world environment with the virtual world or computer-generated imagery.

This toy could signal the launch of 'Augmented reality' into the commercial tech world, no wonder it had generated so much excitement during the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

'AR' is set to add a new dimension to the gaming experience, which includes the transformation of a real-world 2D map into a virtual 3D environment for games.

How soon can I get my hands on Parrot AR Drone?

We can't confirm, but if you go by the buzz on the social space, then it's scheduled for March 2010 launch and could be priced at around $500.

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