Wi-Fi quadricopter offers augmented reality dogfights

— 10:54 AM on June 17, 2010

This year's E3 expo is teeming with new games and funky motion controllers. And then there's Parrot's AR.Drone, which has four tiny helicopter rotors, two integrated cameras, and built-in Wi-Fi. As for the controls, there's an app for that. Literally. The quadricopter is designed to be controlled by an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, and an Android app is also on the way. What's more, the software is completely open source, and Parrot is encouraging developers to try their hands at writing applications and games for the drone.

Yes, games. Parrot has several in development that make clever use of augmented reality and the onboard cameras. One of them enables multiplayer dogfighting with other drones, which you can check out in the embedded video above.

Engadget calls the controls simple an intuitive, and says the quadricopter will land in September with a $299 asking price. That's certainly not cheap, but I can't help but be tempted to pick one up, if only to chase my girlfriend's cat around the house and buzz those pesky kids who keep wandering onto my lawn.

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