PowerUp: A ‘Paper airplane’ drone will give you real-time virtual reality flight experience
Did you enjoy folding and flying paper airplanes as a kid? Well, today’s children (young and old) can enjoy flying a paper airplane drone that live streams video footage and lets them experience the journey on a virtual reality headset.
The Powerup FPV drone is the brainchild of PowerUp Toys, which previously made the news for designing a paper airplane that could be controlled by a smartphone. But that wasn’t good enough, so the firm teamed up with Parrot – a UK firm specialising in a range of consumer drones such as the Bebop Drone and racing drones – to give the plane the controls and functionality of a drone.
PowerUp FPV comes with Wi-Fi streaming with a range of 300ft, a 360-degree rotating camera, a rechargeable lithium polymer battery, fancy sensors and even a microSD card slot to record videos. Obviously with such technical capabilities, paper wouldn’t be able to cut it, so while the PowerUp still looks like a paper airplane, it’s actually made reinforced carbon fibre and nylon.
The idea is that you launch the paper airplane from your hand, and its propellers keep it going, while the camera relays back whatever the plane sees while it’s in flight. The footage is sent to a companion app on your smartphone, which converts the plane’s video stream into a virtual reality experience that you can watch on a smartphone VR headset, like Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR.
If you want the plane to tilt or swoop, you move your head, and the motion is picked up by the app and sent to the plane, or you can tap an on-screen gamepad in the smartphone app. Once your flight is complete, you can share the video or any images taken from the plane straight to social media and video sharing websites from the app.
When in the air, the plane’s battery allows for up to 10 minutes of continuous flight and it can travel at speeds of up to 20mph. Its antenna supports 2.5Ghz and 5Ghz Wi-Fi and it can stream and capture video at up to 30fps.
PowerUp’s previous smartphone-controlled paper airplane did very well on Kickstarter, amassing the princely sum of $1.23m (£798,000) in 2013. This was well over the Kickstarter’s original goal of $50,000 and holds the record for highest funded campaign for a “flight” project ever. Funding for the PowerUp FPV will similarly be launching in early November on Kickstarter and you cansign up to be notified when its crowdfunding campaign begins.
PowerUp FPV will retail at $199, but PowerUpToys promises to offer both early bird and general discounts to backers of the Kickstarter campaign.