Smartphone-controlled paper airplane kit conquers the skies

Fly the friendly skies with a hot-rod paper airplane kitted out with a propeller, rudder, and iOS app.

PowerUp 3.0 paper airplane system
It's not just a paper airplane anymore. Shai Goitein

I suck at paper airplanes. Though I love origami in general, I have never managed to build a truly flight-worthy paper plane. With the PowerUp 3.0 smartphone-controlled paper airplane kit, though, I could get my revenge on aerodynamics.

No longer will paper airplanes have to rely on clever folding techniques and outdated technology like paper-clip weights to make them fly. PowerUp 3.0 includes a device called a Smart Module that clips onto your paper airplane creation. This contains a small propeller and rudder to power your plane through its flight. Take that, gravity!

No special paper is required, you can use just regular copier paper. Your souped-up paper airplane is controlled through an iOS app using Bluetooth. The app gives you plenty of data to fly with, including a thrust indicator, range indicator, magnetic compass, artificial horizon, and a lever for ascending and descending. Tilting your iOS device to the right or left controls the steering.

The rechargeable battery can keep the plane going for up to 10 minutes on a charge. The frame is made from carbon fiber, to compensate for the inevitable crashes as you develop your flying skills.

A basic PowerUp 3.0 package costs $40. The flying machine has nearly topped its $50,000 funding goal. Besides being an entertaining pastime, this system could revolutionize office warfare. Good luck taking one of these out with a USB foam missile launcher.

About the author

Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET's Crave blog. When not wallowing in weird gadgets and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.

 

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