Smartphone Controlled Paper Plane!

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We’ve heard of making remote controlled paper airplanes before, but it looks like someone finally figured out one of the best ways to do it. It’s called the PowerUp 3.0, and it’s a smartphone controlled plane module you can strap to almost any paper plane you make.

[Shai Gotein] is the inventor and is both a pilot and an aviation enthusiast, with over 25 years experience. Back in 2008 he was volunteering to teach Aerodynamics to kids, and he realized how handy it would be to have a small plane capable of indoor flight to explain aviation concepts — so he started designing one. The first iteration (PowerUp 1.0) received the ATA Best Hobby Award, but he didn’t stop there!  Continuing to refine his design, version 3.0 is now controllable via an iPhone or Android device using low-energy Bluetooth communications. This gives it about a 55 meter range, and the tiny battery lasts 10 minutes per charge. The best part is you get to design the plane!

Stick around after the break to see a paper plane do things you’d never expect!

All in all, it’s a reasonably priced toy and looks like a lot of fun, but… Remember the DIY RC Blimp we shared last week? Would it be possible to turn one of the 1:64 scale RC cars into an RC paper plane?

Comments

  1. matthew venn says:

    instant buy!

  2. Wretch says:

    Cool bit of kit. They’re just starting to work on the Android support, though.

  3. Greg Urbano says:

    awesome!

  4. t-bone says:

    That’s amazing. WANT!

  5. TM says:

    Bogus! There is no way a paper airplane will fly that well with the given power and just a rudder actuator and throttle for control — and for $30 bucks?!? No way. Oh, its a kickstarter; that explains it, don’t expect anything if you back this one.

    • pelrun says:

      Not only didn’t you read the article, you didn’t read these comments before going off on your rampage. THERE IS A PROPELLER.

    • ftkalcevic says:

      The whole range of http://www.microflight.com/ planes are 2 channel throttle and rudder control.

      • tedmeyers says:

        Yeah, did you even read my comment?!? I never said there wasn’t a propeller. I just said there was no way it could fly well. It obviously has a very small battery and motor that will barely be able to keep the plane airborne, especially with the limited aerodynamics of a PAPER airplane.

      • tedmeyers says:

        Right, the planes listed on that page range in price from $90 to $180 — way more than $30. That’s my point, there is no way this can be made for $30 and not be crap.

        TM

        • Collin says:

          I wonder if your pessimism is such that, if proven wrong, you will become a fan and a customer or are you the guy that brushes it off, never accepts that he is wrong and then moves on to the next thing for you to snicker at?

          Just curious…

          Not to say that they will be able to keep that price point, but I think it’s a damned good price for what you are getting and is a challenge to believe they will be able to keep it low…. Time will tell..

  6. Where can I get one, or get the plans?!?!?!? Super!

  7. Senkiowa says:

    Combine this with a circuit drawing pen, profit.

  8. Lord Nothing says:

    i dont like the 2 channel approach. you can control pitch through thrust, but considering you will be designing the plane a little bit more control is in order.

    id prefer at least an elevator or some elevons/canards. looks like the plane already has a complete imu and there are probibly a lot of unused pins on the mcu, so im sure it can handle a few more channels. you could probibly use muscle wire to actuate any additional control surfaces. this would mean you could put them wherever you wanted. i imagine little flexible plastic things that stick on to the wing and control surface, that you can plug into the receiver.

    • Caleb says:

      I’ve flown R/C planes and helis for many years. For a powered glider like this all you need is throttle control and rudder. The throttle doubles as the power and the up and down movement.

      Your not going to get precision flying with a paper plane. Adding more complex controls will be waited on such a flimsy non aerodynamic air-frame.

      • Lord Nothing says:

        its not so much for precision flying. it would just allow more experimentation with aircraft design.

        • wholostwhat says:

          Rather than criticise something which is designed to be simple, low cost and fun for not meeting *your* requirements, perhaps you could appreciate it for what it is.

          • Lord Nothing says:

            no matter how awesome something is, there is always another way to improve it.

            idk why they didnt use muscle wire for the tail either, it would have been cheaper/lighter that that micro coil.

  9. kabukicho2001 said, says:

    needed that thing but in wifi android version.

  10. vreinel says:

    Thinking back to my younger days of r/c flying we had a thing called an escapement, wound up with a rubber band, a quarter sized receiver to actuate the escapement for
    rudder L then rudder R. If you went L and wanted to go L again you pushed once to go R and then push and hold to go L. Into the wind climbed down wind dove. That is rudder only. There was also a galloping ghost system, rudder went back and forth continuously until you pushed L or R. We got very good range with a simple transmitter. We used stick built planes costing about 1.98, and the best part is we could still buy airplane glue without a license. We have gone full circle in only about 50 years

  11. George Johnson says:

    Remember those little “micro racers” that were a fad a couple years back?
    You could use about the same parts, maybe a different receiver and do the same thing.
    Over all though, very cool.

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