This might be the coolest toy we've ever seen: the Parrot AR.Drone, a remote-controlled helicopter with a twist. It's controlled via an ad-hoc Wi-Fi connection from either an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. A camera in its snout and on its underside streams the Drone's bird's eye view to your iPhone's screen.
You tilt your iPhone to steer the helicopter, with touch controls to adjust altitude. With its computer stabilisation and four rotating blades, the AR.Drone is much easier to control than the standard sub-AU$100 remote-control helicopter; auto-stabilisation works at heights of up to about 6 metres.
Click through for a look complete look at Parrot AR.Drone.
Autopilot allows the AR.Drone to take off and land with just the press of a button. The lithium polymer batteries take one-and-a-half hours to fully charge and should be good for at least 12 minutes flying time.
A protective bumper shell allows the AR.Drone to be used indoors without too much fear of damaging it, your house or its inhabitants. For outdoor flights, the AR.Drone can be fitted with a more aerodynamic shell that resembles the love child of a tryst between a jet and a helicopter.
Control distance is limited by Wi-Fi range and conditions, so you could theoretically pilot it up 50 metres away. If your phone loses contact with the AR.Drone it will hover for a minute or two, waiting for you to walk back into range or until it runs out of batteries.
The AR.Drone is available in Australia for AU$349 from selected Telstra and Fone Zone stores.
Two official AR.Drone apps are available in the App Store. Free Flight, gives you control of your precious new toy, while AR.Pursuit allows you to engage in an augmented reality dogfight with another AR.Drone.