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The Hover Racer is a toy drone that turns pilots into gamers

Using infrared sensors, this quadcopter can take down your competition like an aerial game of Laser Tag while you race through a course you design.

Now playing: Watch this: The Skyrocket Sky Viper Hover Racer gamifies toy drones

For the most part, toy drones don't let you do a whole hell of a lot beyond fly around and maybe do some flips or record low-quality video. That can be fun for awhile, but then it'll either get left to collect dust or you'll move onto something bigger and better.

Skyrocket Toys' Sky Viper Hover Racer, on the other hand, is made to keep you entertained. The quadcopter, which will be available in the fall for around $100 (that converts to about £70 and AU$140), has infrared sensors around its frame. Those sensors are used to interact with beacons (four are included, but you'll be able to buy more of them) so you can set up your own race course.


The Hover Racer app lets you see if you've hit or missed an infrared beacon.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

Up to four Hover Racers can compete against each other flying at speeds up to 20 mph (32 kph) and hovering 3 feet (0.9 meter) above the ground. Adding to that multiplayer-gaming aspect, you can use infrared blasts to attack your opponents while you race or in dogfights like an aerial game of Laser Tag.

If you only have one Hover Racer, you can wirelessly connect two smartphones to the quadcopter and let another person act as a co-pilot. While one of you flies, the other can defend against a virtual missile attack. And the Racer will actually respond to being hit and affect their performance such as drifting to one side to make piloting more difficult. Also, as your piloting performance improves, you'll be able to boost the performance of the drone, unlock new capabilities or bump up the strength of its weapons.

Like a lot toy drones, battery life is expected to be brief at up to 7 minutes, which is really about the only thing to be disappointed about.

The demo I got was with a prototype -- again, it's not due out till the fall -- but if all these features come true, this will be one impressive $100 toy drone.

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