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AR Drone by Parrot

Written by Barry G. Posted in Gadgets

AR_drone

This is just the ultimate gadget for the 21st century.  A remote controlled flying vehicle that not only do you operate with your Droid but can see the onbaord camera too on your screen.

So I will do my best to write this piece and not sound like a kid on Christmas Day, I say try because that is exactly how I feel to be honest.  Way back in the day, Sony Ericsson themselves made a cheeky little remote controlled Car that worked via Bluetooth with your mobile.  That was cool enough for me and I spent many hours of my retail career playing with that very toy.  Then about 12 years later Parrot made this beast.  A four propeller chopper that connects via Wi-Fi to your smart phone.  The Wi-Fi connectivity allows for a much larger range and the extra bandwidth means that the onboard camera will feed video directly to your screen.  It's like a real life video game.

There is some great modes to the flying as well.  Ofcourse you can just fly around freely and use the drone camera to seek new ariel visions (use this how you will) or you can use the game modes.  There is a two player battle mode which allows two drone players to hook up locally and virtually shoot each other down.  Just like the old street fighter power bars at the top, the first one to reach empty is the loser.

As of 2011, the Android application to control this beast was released.  However you will have to update the firmware on the AR Drone before you can use it, as I found out.  The problem was that the original AR Drone software registered it as a Wi-Fi device, not a hotspot and Androids natively can't do peer to peer connectivity (without rooting it first).  So if you try and connect to it, your Droid just won't see the device at all.  After doing the firmware update though, it will change it to a proper hotspot and it will connect completely hassle free.  However doing the firmware update was a bit tricky with having to download loads of pieces and uploading the updated file directly to the AR Drone.  The full guide on how to do that though is here.

Check out full review from AndroidPolice here.

http://www.androidpolice.com/2011/09/19/parrot-ar-drone-ar-freeflight-control-app-review-one-major-flaw-leaves-this-bird-grounded/

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