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Parrot AR.Drone: A Toy That May Have Aerial Photography Potential

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Published: 17/06/2010
By: larry

I've done a couple of posts in the past about R/C rigs that can carry video or still cameras (here and here). The trouble with many of the possibilities is they are too expensive and/or they are challenging to fly. Well these problem are on there way to being fixed! I just ran across the Parrot Drone, available in September, which is a flying video game and flying quadricopter. It  is relatively inexpensive ($299) and easy to fly. You fly the Parrot from a iPod Touch/iPad/iPhone via Wi-Fi. Here is a intro video and here is a Parrot's YouTube channel.

The Parrot drone is designed to be a game in which you dog fight with other drone owners operating on the same Wi-Fi network. However, since it has both a front-facing and a downward-facing streaming cameras on board the first thing that came to mind was this could capture some cool shots of almost anything that would hard to capture in any other way.

This thing obviously not made to carry your DSLR but it's got two built-in cameras so it will be interesting to see what kind of video it can create. An important aspect of this device is that apparently the software that runs on the drone is open source.

9 comments on “Parrot AR.Drone: A Toy That May Have Aerial Photography Potential”

  1. Doesn't look like it would have any payload capabilities.
    There are three sensor on the belly of the airframe which are required for flight control.
    Dangling a lightweight P&S camera below would definitely interfere with the ultrasonic altimeters and camera.

    Cool toy!

  2. I'm using the big brother of this system, the Mikrokopter... see
    http://www.360vt.be/web/images/stories/artwork/mk.jpg

    I used kites to take aerial pictures but I prefer this system because you can fly in much tighter places. You can lock the position with GPS and height sensor and it can lift 1.3 pounds with ease. The 6 and 8 arms Mikrokopters can even lift more.

    It's a german product (http://www.mikrokopter.de) but there's a dealer in the US: http://www.mikrokopter.us

    Grtz,
    Yvan.

  3. I really like the idea of this product, as it would be such a great, low cost alternative to the more expensive rigs, or hiring a helicopter. My main concern would be, what if there is no WiFi available (or none that isn't password-protected) where you're trying to shoot? Or I suppose you buy a MiFi device to "create" your own WiFi there.

  4. The AR.Drone has a built in wifi access point that your ipod will connect to, basicly its a flying wifi router ;P

  5. Do you think this thing could carry an iPhone for video? While not perfect, it could work if you shoot in good lighting (like with the sun at your back)...I'm thinking about getting one, but the guy at Brookstone would;t let me put my phone on it to see if it would get off of the ground.

  6. Did you try one out in the meantime now? I have to do aerial shots and think about buying one of these.

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