So you didn’t receive that hot new toy from Santa for Christmas, but you still really want it, right? I’m not talking about the newest Playstation, Xbox or Wii, or even that awesome new Lego set you just had to splurge on last time you ventured the halls of Toys R Us. I’m talking about bluetooth-powered remote control airplanes of course, and thanks to an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign these will be coming to an online store near you this coming June. Talk about Christmas in July when these hit, and it’ll be a month early too! What the heck am I blabbing on about? Well let me explain a little better. The PowerUp 3.0, as the name implies, is the 3rd generation PowerUp product that attaches itself to any home-made paper airplane for quick on-the-go flying action. The project started in 2008 when Shai Goitein was volunteering to teach aerodynamics to some underpriviledged kids in the evenings, eventually giving him his “eureka” moment to start the PowerUp project. 5 years later and $845,000 pledged on his Kickstarter campaign have eventually made way for an actual production unit that will be shipping out to the 50 beta customers that bought their way into the program just next month.
January 25th is when the Kickstarter campaign ends, and there’s still plenty to unlock too. Head on over to the official Kickstarter page to check out all the stuff, and know that even though Shai seems pretty beholden to the iPhone pictured, full Android support for phones running Android 4.3 and higher is included in the final project. One PowerUp 3.0 module should be somewhere in the ballpark of $50 when it launches at retail in June 2014, and is an easy way to kill 10 minutes of your day by becoming a 5 year old kid all over again.
The module is based on Bluetooth Smart technology, which means it’s not likely to cause much battery drain on your phone, which is also why it’s restricted to Android 4.3 and higher, as Android 4.3 enables the Bluetooth 4.0 standard. The unit itself charges via micro USB port just like our phones, and should last about 10 minutes per charge. There’s also a little power pack that can be purchased (and is included in the “perfect package” Kickstarter bundle) that can charge the plane when you run out of juice on the go. So far extras that have been unlocked via set funding levels are the Android support and multi-control, which allows two or more PowerUp modules to be controlled at once, giving you the ability to create a massive air behemoth. Coming up are the Dogfight and Video Camera modules, which you can read about more on the Kickstarter page. Smartphones are great tools, but we know just how much fun they can be. Stay tuned for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) next week for more fun stuff.