There are many hobbies one can take part in such as paintball, painting, sports and even collecting various items. While these hobbies are indeed fun, flying an AR Drone is just so much cooler. Developed by Parrot, the AR Drone is a quadricopter that is piloted via Wi-Fi using an Apple or Android based device.
While reviewing the Parrot AR Drone, I opted to use the sleek and sexy Sony Xperia Play. The Sony Xperia Play is built for gaming, and provides comfort and support for rigorous testing sessions.
While there are many devices out there that allow one to become a handheld pilot, the AR Drone offers a highly unique experience in the form of Augmented Reality video games. I had the opportunity to test out the following apps while using this phenomenal device: AR.Free Flight and AR Pursuit.
AR Free Flight is a mandatory App used to fly the AR Drone, which offers users the ability to pilot the AR Drone via the beginner or expert mode, and is available free via your chosen platforms App store.
AR.Pursuit pinpoints the outstanding technical and flight capabilities of the AR.Drone, allowing the players to put their piloting skills to the test. This game demonstrates the extreme manoeuvrability and stability of the AR Drone. Players are immerged in a world where real and virtual mix inside a pursuit race…a truly unique experience! The object of the game is to escape as long as possible from the hunter’s missiles. The longer you avoid being hit, the more points you accumulate.
The body of the AR Drone is fairly solid and is made up of carbon fibre and high resistant PA66 plastic; however with a hard enough impact the outer shell will crack or tear apart. The AR Drone is also fairly light, which allows for easy manoeuvrability and handling. The AR Drone also features a high quality camera that is situated on the front of the AR Drone, which broadcasts and streams whatever the AR Drone is “seeing” onto any Android or Apple powered device.
The second camera, located underneath the body is connected to an Inertial Measurement Unit which enables the AR.Drone to measure its horizontal speed and perform incredible stationary flights. The image comparison allows for compensation of turbulence due to the wind during outside flights. Additionally, the heart of the AR.Drone contains MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanicals Systems), 3 axes accelerometer, 2 gyrometers (1 axe & 2 axes), and one ultrasound sensor.
Controlling the AR Drone at first is not an easy task and plenty of practice will be needed. I found that in the beginning stages I was a magnet when it came to walls, bushes trees, swimming pools and other random objects. My best suggestion for first time flyers is to take the AR Drone to an open field to test out your skills. This will provide you with enough space to spread your wings and provide a minimal amount of obstacles that could possibly damage the 4 propellers.
Once you have gained full control of the AR Drone, you will be able to use it outdoors as well as indoors, which makes this device less restrictive than any other piloted device on the market. The only downside of the AR Drone is the poor battery-life, which lasts for around 10 – 15 minutes; however this can be expected from a high powered device like this.
The Parrot AR Drone is a remarkable device that is truly unique. The device is a great quality product that is strong and durable; however, with a hard enough impact it will crack and tear. The battery-life is slightly poor, although this can be expected when using a device that is this powerful.
The AR Drone also features great camera quality and is definitely a great addition to those who are veterans of radio-controlled devices, as well as newcomers.
Quality and design: 9.5/10
Ease of use: 9/10
Flight time: 8/10
Lasting appeal: 10/10
The Parrot AR Drone was controlled using the Sony Xperia Play, check out the official Xperia Play website here. For additional information regarding the Parrot AR Drone head to the official website here