Guaranteed fun for all ages: AR Drone 2.0

You’ll have a hard time finding a remote controlled helicopter that is easier to use and more fun than the AR Drone 2.0.  With advanced features such as a gyroscope and altimeter, it practically flies itself.

The biggest feature that sets the AR Drone apart from other remote controlled helicopters is its flight computer.  If you have used the $30 or $40 dollar helicopters that are sold at the mall, you’ll know how hard they can be to control by yourself and impossible to make hover at a consistent altitude.  The AR Drone makes flying simple with its gyroscope that controls tilt and altimeter that will maintain a constant height after you climb or descend.

In order to control the AR Drone, you need to download an app on your smartphone.  There are several apps for both Android and the iPhone that you can choose from.  Once you connect the phone to the Drone via WiFi, all you have to do is press a button to take off.  The AR Drone will lift off and maintain an altitude of about 1 meter (if you do not change the settings on the app) and from there you can fly it forward and backward just by tilting your phone in the respective direction.  Tilting your phone left and right will bank the Drone in that direction.  Lastly, altitude and rotation are both controlled by a touch button on the screen of the phone.  A new feature on the 2.0 is “Absolute Control.”  This feature uses the pilot’s position as a reference point and will always move forward/backward based on where you are standing when you tilt your phone, rather than with respect to the direction the nose of the AR Drone is facing.

By far the coolest part about using a smartphone as a controller is that the whole time you are flying, the 720p camera on the AR Drone is streaming video to your phone’s screen.  This means not only can you see where you are going when the Drone is out of sight, but also record and save videos and pitcures to share with friends.

Version 2.0 of the AR Drone gives you an upgraded camera, an improved altimeter that works at higher altitudes and games such as racing so you can compete with friends.  Your battery will last for about 10 minutes of flight time, which is pretty impressive given that it is powering 4 rotor blades, a CPU, and broadcasting WiFi.  However it may be a good idea to have a second battery so you can swap out for additional flight time.

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