A now annual tradition at the Consumer Electronics Show is the It Won’t Stay in Vegas party for bloggers – it’s a total geekfest within a geekfest, and more or less what you’d expect. This year the scene stealer (besides LeVar Burton and Brent Spiner) was the Quadricopter from Parrot.com.
I’ll admit I couldn’t remember the name of this thing when I first tweeted about it and even when I posted the video. It was just kind of there. It’s controlled by an iPhone (an iPod Touch will work too). This model was the AR.Drone, and what wasn’t readily visible was the augmented reality component, which includes “detecting other AR.Drone in flight, and detecting and positioning markers on the ground.”
You don’t need to know all of the technical details, and there are far more than I’ll relay here. On its surface, it’s just a cooler, more stable version of remote control vehicles. I recently played around with some cheap RC helicopter from a toy store and there was really no way to prevent it from crashing; some of the controls didn’t even work. So this already is better – check the video to see how ridiculously stable it is.
When you start digging deeper though, seeing how augmented reality plays a role, and how mobile devices like the iPhone can interact more with physical devices, it becomes much more of a marvel as a sign of where technology, gaming, and mobile media are heading.