AppToyz RC Car and Helicopter using iPhone Remote
Last year, the Parrot AR.Drone took the gadget world by storm as the first RC controlled by an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. This advanced system had a lot of great features like a built in front and bottom camera that allowed the pilots to see it right on their video screens the view from the copter. It even had its own auto-pilot to help take off and land as well as solid hull design to avoid collision damage. As cool as all this was, the price of over 300 euros was a bit stifling for amateurs who just wanted a fun gadget to play around with.
Recognizing the potential, AppToyz is releasing both a car and a helicopter that can use the handheld communication devices as steering mechanisms. You would think that they would use the 30 pin data connector in which to connect the included control device, but instead, it plugs into the headphone jack. Apparently the App makes sounds that the connector recognizes as movement commands and makes the appropriate signal. A cool way to do it, though in the pictures, it seems like this addition is a bit bulky when trying to use your hand to control the speed, but we’ll reserve judgment until they are actually released.
While they lack all the bells and whistles that make the Parrot AR.Drone a more expensive option such as on board cameras and auto-pilot takeoffs and landings, the AppToyz will be significantly less money, putting them in the range for most hobbyists and casual customers to enjoy. The car will retail for 30 euro, while the helicopter will be 50 euro ($80 in the US). It comes with the controller plugin and the App will be free for owners through the official Apple AppStore.
Expect to see these out in April of 2011. Judging from the below video, they look like they are lots of fun.