Paper airplanes are a beloved childhood memory but the simple planes of our collective memory can't compete with the new POWERUP 3.0, a smartphone-controlled paper airplane conversion kit, available now on Amazon for $46.47, down from the regular price of $49.99. The standard model of a paper plane flies straight, the hardy tractor plane tends to do loop-the-loops, and the sleek pterodactyl plane circles to the ground like a falling leaf-seed, but any plane equipped with POWERUP 3.0 can do all of those things with ease thanks to its propellor, rudders, and weights, all controlled by a special companion app that communicates over a long-range Bluetooth connection. The powerful propellor and complex control system can keep your plane flying for a range of nearly 200 feet under your control, and possibly even further if you walk with it, or point it straight and let it fly.
The propeller on this device is in the back, and the front housing is made to be crash-resistant. This means that smacking your paper plane into a building or crashing it into the ground is no big deal, though it's not waterproof, so be sure to avoid water landings. The companion app allows you to twist and turn your phone to control which way the plane pitches and yaws, while using a slider to control how much oomph the propellor is putting out at any given moment. Information displays within the app tell you which way the plane is facing, how strong your signal is, how much fuel is left for the propellor, and how much battery life the control module has left. The system is even powerful enough to mount a small camera for first-person videos, though the extra weight will affect flight. It should go without saying that a 360-degree camera for VR videos is a no-go.
POWERUP had a long road on Kickstarter to get to where it is now, offering a relatively cheap product that's essentially the first of its kind, albeit a third revision of the concept, much like its name implies. Smartphone-powered planes do exist, of course, but crashing one is normally the end of the thing, or serious repairs are required. The same can be said of most drones. With a modular kit for paper planes that's made for durability, you can pay a relatively cheap price of entry and never have to worry about any expenses again for the life of the product, and you can use it with just about any paper plane design that you can dream up and fold up.