Parrot’s AR Drone Gets Cool New Augmented Reality Games (video)

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Flying a quad-copter with your iPhone not cool enough? Try dog-fighting other drones using augmented reality.

Just in time for the E3 Expo, Parrot has released new augmented reality video games for its awesome AR Drone. Able to put any geek into a fit, the flying quad-copter is piloted using an iPhone App and two onboard cameras. I got to play with one of these things at CES this year, and it was more fun than I think I deserved. Now, Parrot has unveiled three augmented reality games which overlap digital graphics with the live video feed from the drone. You play the games the same way you normally fly the drone – through iPhone apps. Check out a trailer for the AR Drone games, along with footage of all three in the videos below.

As awesome as the AR Drone may be, the three games debuted aren’t mind-blowing in their scope. Free Flight let’s you fly around, Drone Gate lets you battle a virtual swarm of badies, and Flying Ace lets you dogfight other AR Drones. All pretty standard video game fare. But you can’t forget that you’re playing these games with a real-life flying machine. We’ve shown you augmented reality video games before (including some from Nintendo). We’ve shown you some amazing quad-copters. Parrot’s AR Drone is both amazing technologies rolled into one. You can’t get any geekier or cooler than that.

If the videos leave you aching for your own system, you’ll have to wait. It won’t go on sale in the US until Septemeber (MSRP = $300, not bad). Availability and pricing for other regions will be announced in the next few weeks. As for the games, Free Flight is available now for download on iTunes, the others are coming soon. It’s hard to say whether or not the AR Drone will be a one of a kind novelty, or if it will spark a trend in drone-based gaming. Certainly augmented reality has the potential to revitalize everything from marketing to education. It will be interesting to see if Parrot’s pricing and first generation games are able to attract enough attention to keep the project going. I certainly hope that’s the case. As far as I’m concerned, September can’t come soon enough. …I wonder if I can classify the AR Drone as a business expense.

[screen capture and video credits: Parrot]
[source: Parrot]