Nowadays, technology seems to be taking over everything, toys included.
It may seem only a few years ago when pogs were the height of toy advancement but now they’re all at it: Monopoly is implementing electronic banking, 6-year-olds have switched from model Bakelite telephones to real iPhones, and those enormous story books with foot-high illustrations are being swapped for more portable (but less useful for building a fort) e-books.
And now it seems that even the paper aeroplane, that most basic and traditional toys, is no longer safe.
This is primarily down to a new product called the PowerUp, which turns an ordinary paper aeroplane into a smartphone-controlled drone. All you need to do is make your own paper aeroplane, attach the module, and launch the plane into the air.
Once airborne, the device can be controlled by an iOS or Android app on your smartphone via Bluetooth. The user interface of the app is probably one of the coolest features, featuring an artificial horizon, showing the plane’s pitch and roll attitude. In addition, there’s also an ascend/descend lever (which presumably alters thrust), a range indicator, a magnetic compass, a thrust level indicator, and a battery level indicator. Steering the plane is easy, too – all you need to do is twist your smartphone in the preferred direction.
In addition, the plane is able to fly for 10 minutes on one charge, although with a range of 180ft, it’s unlikely to get lost. Other benefits include a strong carbon fibre frame and a front bumper (although what protection this will afford during an unintentional nosedive is unclear). One neat feature would be a front-mounted camera to give a bird’s eye view of the area ahead, although this omission may perhaps have as much to do with privacy as cost. After all, the sight of a PowerUp buzzing past outside the window wouldn’t be the most welcome sight in the morning.
There have been two previous incarnations of the PowerUp (hence ‘3.0’) although neither of these had the ability to be controlled remotely. The new toy reached its Kickstarter target in January and is currently available to pre-order for around £30 from the PowerUp website with deliveries expected to begin in August. Remember though, we are sure you are only as good as your folding.