CES 2010: Parrot AR.Drone quadricopter takes flight

Parrot is best known for its bluetooth hands-free kits so it may come as a bit of a surprise to see it launch itself into the world of augmented reali

Parrot is best known for its bluetooth hands-free kits so it may come as a bit of a surprise to see it launch itself into the world of augmented reality toys.

Looking like a prop from Avatar, the four-rotor helicopter, or quadricopter, is controlled using an iPhone or iPod touch via WiFi. 

There are two cameras on board, one downward facing one that the AR.Drone uses to track its position and speed, and one forward facing one that feeds video to the iPhone control.

To make controlling it easy there are accelerometers, gyros and ultrasound sensors that all feed into the AR.Drone's stabilising system. And in case you're still no Ice Man, it comes with an attachable polystyrene 'hull' so you don't accidentally zizz your cat's face off when you're piloting it around the kitchen.

Excitingly, there are augmented reality gaming possibilities too. Gaming graphics overlay the camera footage so you can have virtual battles with animated bad guys, or even other AR.Drones.

We know, it's all very exciting and bewildering. Don't worry - there are videos of it in action on the Parrot site to help you get your noodle around the concept.

We'll be bringing you plenty more news from the goings on at CES in Las Vegas over the coming days, but you can take a look at the CES blog now to whet your appetite.

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