Hacked Gadgets Forum

January 12, 2011

AR Drone Technical Overview – CES 2011

at 10:05 pm. Filed under CES, Complex Hacks, Cool Gadgets, Crazy Hacks, Electronic Hacks, Game Hacks, Insane Equipment, Toy Hacks


We have seen the AR Drone here before. This is the quadcopter that can be flown around using the WiFi from your iPhone, iPad or an iPod Touch. The accelerometers in the Apple product are used to fly the device around, you simply tip it in the direction you would like the AR Drone to fly. The quadcopter has a sophisticated onboard processor which allows the AR Drone to maintain predictable flight. There is an ultrasonic sensor on the bottom to allow the height of the quadcopter to be easily maintained. Movement of the AR Drone is watched by a bottom facing camera, by analyzing each passing frame it can be determined how far it has flown. This is a similar technology to what is done in an optical mouse to detect in what direction and how far the mouse has been moved.

The front facing camera allows the AR Drone to be flown out of visual range, you simply watch the action on the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Some of the AR Drones you see have some colored bands, these are used to allow for some fun augmented reality games where you can follow another drone and even make it look different.

Watch the video for some technical details of what is inside the AR Drone and continue watching the second half of the video for some flight action. The people flying the quadcopters are out of the crowd so it shows how easy it is to just pick up and play. I can see all sorts of extended applications beyond the fun flying aspects, just imagine the security guards that need to make long far patrols, instead of walking a mile he could just make a quick flight around to make sure nothing is wrong.

Thanks to the Parrot team for taking the time to tell us all about the AR Drone at CES 2011 in Las Vegas.