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Gadget Keeps Your Paper Planes in the Air—and Lets You Pilot Them

Brian Heater
Tech Columnist
Yahoo Tech
February 20, 2014

Gadget Keeps Your Paper Planes in the Air—and Lets You Pilot Them

Brian Heater
Tech Columnist
Yahoo Tech
February 20, 2014

The paper airplane just got an upgrade for the smartphone generation. PowerUp takes a standard paper plane you fold yourself and turns it into a remote-control flyer that you control with an iOS or Android device.

The product itself is actually a thin metal wire with a Bluetooth module on one end and a propeller on the other. The device clips onto the top of the plane, and that’s pretty much it — you’re good to go from there. You toss it into the air as you would a regular, old-fashioned plane and then take control with your phone.

The company provides a free app that looks a lot like a flight simulator, letting you know whether your plane is level with the horizon and how much juice is left in the battery. There’s a “throttle lever” on the screen to make the plane go up and down, and when you want to make it go left or right, just tilt your phone in that direction.

Unfortunately, we didn’t actually get to see the plane in action on the crowded Toy Fair floor, but there’s a demo of it in the company’s official Kickstarter video below.

The PowerUp has a built-in battery, which should give you about 10 minutes’ flight time per charge. Once you’ve run out of fuel, the device charges back up via a micro-USB cord.

The latest version of the plane is actually the third model of PowerUp, though its predecessors didn’t feature the smartphone control that really makes the third version a really compelling device. Oh, and if you’re not into soaring majestically above the clouds, the company’s also got a motorized paper boat model.

The PowerUp 3.0 costs $50, a price that includes a spare propeller and rudder — because, let’s face it, you’re going to crash quite a bit. Liftoff is set for June of this year.

You can read our previous coverage of the PowerUp paper airplane here

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