Paper Plane Gets Reinvented: Now Phone-Controlled Drone

The first time you thought about flight was probably when you made a paper airplane as a kid. Now that you’re all grown up, you’ll probably be pleased to learn that the paper plane has now been reinvented for the drone and smartphone era.

Today, a startup showed off a piece of kit that turns a paper plane into a smartphone-controlled gizmo with a motor to propel it along and a camera that can livestream your flight.

The PowerUp FPV is made by PowerUp Toys, which is based in Israel. It’s not for sale yet, so you’ll have to wait until November 10 when it hits Kickstarter. The lowest Kickstarter price will be US$199. It won’t hit stores until next summer.

Snappy drone

The startup team says the PowerUp FPV has an operating range of 300 feet (91 meters) due to connectivity limitations, but the dual motors and accompanying battery have enough juice for it to fly for up to 10 minutes – so you should be able to fly it quite far if you can run and keep up with it.

PowerUp’s paper drone is controlled with an accompanying app which shows a simulated heads-up display on your phone’s screen. You can control it in the normal way with your fingers tapping on the screen, or there’s support for head movement controls via Google Cardboard if you can bear the ignominy of standing in a field with your phone strapped to your face.

The camera can take photos as well as video – with an option to livestream the flight video or just save it to a microSD card. Being a toy for millennials, the FPV takes selfies – it’ll produce a selfie of you (aka a photo) from the rearward camera right after take-off.

The Israel-based startup has experience with motorised paper airplanes, but the FPV is a lot more teched-up than its previous creation, the PowerUp 3.0, which was simply a single motor attachment for a paper plane that you controlled with your phone.

One bit of bad news for the oversized kid in you: there’s no way to get a PowerUp FPV in time for Christmas.

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