Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

There are plenty of specialized third-party apps for the AR.Drone designed to do things like help videographers capture better aerial footage and teach ambitious users advanced piloting techniques (Handout image)
There are plenty of specialized third-party apps for the AR.Drone designed to do things like help videographers capture better aerial footage and teach ambitious users advanced piloting techniques (Handout image)

Attack of the drones: Parrot quadricopter soars Add to ...

Plenty of mobile games simulate air combat, but only one involves flying real aircraft. Parrot's AR.Drone is a four-propeller helicopter that can connect to an iPhone, iPad, or Android-based device via WiFi, allowing users to pilot the craft using simple onscreen controls. A front-mounted camera provides a live, first-person view of the flight on the screen of your phone or tablet, while a secondary cam in the belly offers a bombardier's view of the ground directly below.

More related to this story

But there's more to the AR.Drone than just the fun of flight. A collection of first-party apps and accessories turns the drone into a platform for a variety of games. You can use the quadricopter to hunt down a fleeing human opponent, go up against another drone in frenetic dogfights, or test your precision by racing through a series of rings and pylons.

Plus, Parrot's open source code has given birth to a plenty of specialized third-party apps designed to do things like help videographers capture better aerial footage and teach ambitious users advanced piloting techniques. One even promises to turn the drone into a flying dancing machine.

Canada's chilly winters might make giving an AR.Drone as a Christmas gift seem tantamount to a tease, but the quadricopter's lightweight design, removable foam bumpers and precise controls make it suitable for indoor shenanigans. Indeed, a big rumpus room is probably the best place to try to get your air-legs. Once it's out of the box and in the air – it takes just minutes – there's a good chance you will forget everything else under the tree. ($329.99; www.futureshop.ca)

Follow on Twitter: @chadsapieha

In the know

Most popular video »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most Popular Stories