Okay. Here is something I didn’t predict would come out in 2010 – a carbon fiber quadricopter AR input device and gaming platform for the iPhone. Why wait for Apple to open up their camera API, when you can slap one onto a self-stabilizing 4-propeller geeks’ dream toy? The clever folks at Parrot and int13 have developed the “AR.Drone”, a remote-controlled copter with two on-board cameras (one for flight stabilization, and one for web cam broadcast and AR gaming). The AR software is capable of detecting other drones in flight or markers on the ground, making it possible to play both solo games and multi-player games against freinds’ AR.Drones. Parrot has also opened up their SDK to developers to create their own games for the AR.Drone. Developer prototype kits can be had for $1200, and start shipping in February.
IMHO, this is the most exciting development in AR games to come along to-date, and I can’t wait to get my hands on one (or two). It combines nearly every one of my childhood and adult toy loves – remote control, robotics, flying, mobile gaming, and augmented reality - into a single package. Kudos to Parrot and int13 for a truly innovative product.
If the rest of 2010 has more surprises in store of the likes of this, it is truly shaping up to be an amazing year for augmented reality. What do you think? Am I overstating the awesomeness of this new development, or do you share my breathless enthusiasm?