Drone maker Parrot gets playful

With its new Jumping Sumo and mini drone, Parrot is looking for ways to bring in a much wider audience that just wants to have easy fun.

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LAS VEGAS -- Drones just got a lot more playful.

Parrot, which thanks to its AR Drone already is a leader in the space, will release a brand-new mini version of its signature device later this year. Designed to be very easy to use, extremely lightweight, and less expensive than its cousin, the Mini drone offers much of the same technology and features as the AR.

Built with a high-speed camera, a 3-axis gyro sensor, and a 3-axis accelerometer, the Mini can climb walls, or fly around effortlessly, controlled by either an iOS or Android device. Unlike the AR, which uses Wi-Fi to connect to the mobile app and has a range of 160 feet, the Mini uses Bluetooth LE and has a range of about 75 feet.

And while the AR features a 720p front-mounted HD camera, the Mini has a bottom-mounted high-speed camera that cannot record. The Mini uses a lithium-polymer battery that provides 8 minutes of flying time.

Parrot, which showed off the Mini at CES today, said it hasn't settled on a price yet, and would say only that it will come out this year. The idea is that it will appeal to people who are new to drones, and that many of them will one day graduate to the AR or its higher-end successors.

And lest consumers conclude that Parrot is only interested in making flying drones, its new Jumping Sumo should put that notion to rest.

A small remote-controlled robot, the Jumping Sumo is designed to roll around on just about any surface, and, more impressively, to jump up to 2.5 feet in the air on command.

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The device has an embedded video camera, from which it can stream video to an iOS device, which controls the Jumping Sumo via Wi-Fi.

What good is the Sumo's jumping ability? It's hard to say exactly what people will do with it, but one thing is for sure: If it gets stuck on the stairs, it can simply jump to the next one.

Parrot would not say what the Jumping Sumo's price will be but did say it will be released this year.

 

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