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iPod Qadrahelodrone

I'm pretty into new tech gadgets.

Not the kind that just grabs up the latest must-have thing (though I am thinking very seriously about grabbing a tablet when they come out), but I get excited about gadgets that innovate beyond what's being talked about and offer uses (both practical and entertainment wise) that aren't being met -- or could only be met at a very high price.

When a colleague sent a note along to me this morning on the AR.Drone made by the French company Parrot, I was intrigued. Then I looked at their site and the videos that explain what the AR.Drone does and I freaked.

Frome USAToday:

Moving the iPhone or iPod Touch, which have built-in accelerometers, directs the toy helicopter in forward, backward, turning and other directions. Buttons on the iPhone make it go up or down.

The chopper has four propellers and two on-board video cameras. One camera assists in flight, the other broadcasts video back to the device. That's where game developers could use the toy's capabilities to created augmented reality games to play in the real world, says Parrot founder Henri Seydoux.

"For the first time, you can play together with a friend like a flying ace," he says. "You pilot your copter and could shoot him in the game and the video camera makes that connection."

I'm an iPhone disciple -- I mean, I truly think the iPhone is the greatest invention since the wheel, if not since fire. And if I can now use my iPhone to snoop on people or places with a lightweight helidrone, I'm in. Now, after watching the video, I'm left with the question: Why does it take a decade of development and 100s of millions of dollars to develop (and not even yet field) a microdrone capability for the military, when some French company nobody's ever heard of can pop one of these things out in a year? How soon do you think SOCOM will put out an UNS on this little gizmo?

-- Christian

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