Parrot AR.drone launches at E3

In a slick high profile launch at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. The annual video game conference and show at the Los Angeles Convention centre the French Parrot company launched there quadrocopter.

Expected to come in for less than $300 the camera equipped quad is tasked with playing Augmented Reality the AR part of the name, games.

How they will work is well explained on there swish website along with the chance to win one! http://ardrone.parrot.com/parrot-ar-drone/en

The quad itself is not going set the load lifting world alight nor is it going to have a tremendous range. It will use  inbuilt accelerometers present in iPod touch/iPhone to control the quad via a wifi link. This innovation might lead us quickly to more intuitive control of UAS  that non pilots will quickly learn. That could be the game changer.

Parrot AR.Drone is made of carbon fiber and high resistance PA66 plastic.

The heart of the AR.Drone contains MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanicals Systems), three axes accelerometer, two gyrometers [one axe & two axes], one ultrasound sensor and two cameras:

  • The first camera, located underneath, is connected to an Inertial Measurement Unit. Thanks to this unit, the AR.Drone is capable of measuring its horizontal speed and performing mind-blowing stationary flights. The system of images comparison enables it to compensate turbulences due to the wind during outside flights.These technologies are usually used for professional or military applications and have been adapted to gaming universe for the first time.
  • The second camera, at the front of the quadricopter, broadcasts and streams on the iPod touch/iPhone screen what the drone is seeing as if the player was in the pilot’s position.This camera plays a major role for video gaming thanks to the use of form recognition: it enables augmented reality.

    For example, the front camera will recognize another AR.Drone in the game battle between two quadricopters, or tags which will turn into obstacles, monsters or robots on the screen of the iPod touch/iPhone.

    Video streaming has been enhanced compared to the development version of AR.Drone introduced at CES. Also, the front of the hull has been strengthened to better protect the camera.

    The players can choose the camera they prefer or display the two cameras simultaneously on the screen of the iPod touch/iPhone.