It’s not just spy agencies that use remote-controlled flyers and other surveillance gizmos – you too can be your own all-seeing eye, says Matthew Herbst
Advanced, ready to fly and Wi-Fi-controlled, the AR.Drone 2.0 Power Edition Quadricopter is the latest development from Parrot’s world of high-tech flying gadgets. It’s easily controlled by a smartphone or tablet and comes stacked with two high-density lithium polymer
batteries, which provide a lengthy 36 minutes of flying time. It gets cooler – this power-packed machine features a high definition camera with video recording and flight data sharing. On the wish list for every tech enthusiast, this little beast retails at RO207 and can even perform 360-degree flips on command – if you’re an experienced pilot. www.amazon.com
NVIDIA Shield is a mobile gaming console and can also be used to run an excellent drone-piloting application. Made from cutting-edge components and the latest technology, the Shield allows you to pilot an AR.Drone with exact precision. The console comes with a blazingly fast mobile processor, an ergonomically designed controller for maximum comfort, high fidelity speakers and an HD multi-touch LCD tablet display. You can find it at www.shield.nvidia.com for RO77.
Check out the Carl Zeiss cinemizer video glasses. The multimedia specs have twin high-resolution screens that feature the latest display technology, OLED (organic light emitting diode). The included HDMI and mini HDMI interfaces can be used with a whole array of home entertainment equipment or mobile phones. The integrated battery lasts for up to six hours. These tech specs go for RO303 on Amazon.
The Myo Armband, brought to us by Thalmic Labs, is a futuristic way to control a range of devices but can also be used in conjunction with our object of lust, the AR.Drone 2.0. The Armband tells the quadricopter to follow precisely each movement of the arm or wrist. The gesture-tracking technology is due to be released mid-2014, and could potentially be under your Christmas tree this year. With the tagline, ‘Your muscles talk, the Myo Armband listens,’ this innovative product could be an exciting new twist on traditional controllers. Preorder it now for just RO57 at www.thalmic.com/en/myo
A budget alternative to the pricey AR.Drone 2.0 is Hubsan’s X4. This micro-sized machine can be flown just about anywhere – including indoors. Luckily, its quad-rotor is powerful enough for you to safely fly it outside so you don’t pester your other half. The rugged exterior features blue LED lights so you can also tell where your flying friend is the night sky. Its battery will keep it in the sky for up to 10 minutes but only needs a brief half-hour to get back up and flying. The Hubsan also comes with an LCD screen and digital trim adjustment buttons, which allow clever pilots to throw the drone backwards and forwards into impressive flips and rolls.
Find it at amazon.com for RO18.
The AR.Drone 2.0 is the first toy with an onboard GPS, making it a little Black box that will store all your drone’s flight information. The new accessory seriously improves the features of AR.Drones by providing functions such as ‘click & go’, allowing you to give the drone coordinates, which it will then fly to. its onboard 4GB storage records all the action and Flights can then be reviewed and modelled in 3D on a computer. The GPS flight recorder can also guide the AR.Drone safely back to its starting point using the ‘Return Home’ function. a bit like a homing pigeon. sold for RO42 on Amazon.
The AR.Rescue 2 game is an intensified reality app to play on either the Parrot AR.Drone or AR.Drone 2.0. The game uses flying wizardry in conjunction with an iPhone or iPad to play on-screen games, such as collecting rockets scattered in the atmosphere or shooting extra-terrestial enemies. AR.Rescue 2 offers 40 levels, with gradually increasing difficulty, in your quest to become a master of the skies. Get it free at the iTunes App Store.
The Syma X1 4 Channel Quad Copter UFO is a mouthful, but this affordable baby uses a 2.4Ghz spread-spectrum technology which allows long distance control and reduces interference from exterior sources. It boasts minimal power consumption and impressively rapid responses. Able to do 360-degree flips, rolls and spins, it has a three-axis flight control system with adjustable sensitivity to ensure a smooth and stable flight. The only downside to this quadcopter is its small battery; for every 40 minutes of charging time, the Syma flies for just five to six minutes. But not bad for RO13. Find it on Amazon.
Recharge retro-style and escape the drone zone that was once your house. This cute little Talk Dock Handset and Charging Cradle is the perfect way to moan to your girlfriends about Boy’s Toys without your phone running out of battery. With its period exterior, it’s easy to imagine you’ve stepped back in time – plus it’s a perfect way to bring your Mad Men obsession to life. The matte finish makes it look sleek while holding any iOS and Android smartphone. Available at Amazon.com for just RO10, leaving enough in your purse to buy those new shoes that you’ve had your eye on.