It has no built-in camera beaming video back to your iPhone, and it isn't controlled via Wi-Fi. There are no augmented reality apps that come with it, nor is there (as far as we know) a way to hack the firmware. It only has two full-size rotors instead of four. Despite all of these shortcomings, Griffin's upcoming AppPowered Helo TC may be a popular iOS accessory this Christmas season.
Why? The price. It's much less expensive than the device that I'm comparing it to -- the Parrot AR.Drone. Sure, for US$50 you're not getting a lot (as there are plenty of these without iOS control on the market), and you have to slap an IR transmitter containing 4 AAA batteries onto your iPhone or iPod touch, but one-sixth of the price of the AR.Drone, you can still get the thrill of annoying your pets and significant other.
You can fly the Helo TC at night thanks to five LEDs, and Griffin thoughtfully provides extra rotors to replace those you break while learning to fly it properly. More info from Griffin Technology can be found in the press release below.
Fly a remote controlled helicopter with your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch
14th July 2011, London, UK: Griffin Technology Inc., maker of innovations for everyday life, today announces the Helo TC, a touch-controlled helicopter that is operated by your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. Part of Griffin's latest range of AppPowered Accessories, the Helo TC app turns your iOS device into a remote for an indoor helicopter. Available to buy in time for Christmas, priced at £34.99.
The Helo TC is simple to operate; charge the helicopter from any computer or USB power source, before sliding your compatible iOS device into the included flight deck module. The flight deck transmits infrared signals to the helicopter giving you total flying control. There are two flight modes available, you can use the Multi-Touch display to control the Helo TC's throttle and flight controlled joystick - the cyclic - or enable Helo TC's Tilt-to-Fly, which uses the iOS device's accelerometers,and tilt the device forward, back and side to side to control the helicopter's flight.
The helicopter itself is built on a light weight metal frame with a black polycarbonate body. The twin rotor design is very easy to fly and gives a stable flight but just in case you get a little too over-zealous with your flying techniques; the Helo TC comes with replaceable main and tail rotor systems. And if you are interested in some night-flying the helicopter also has 5 super-bright LEDs. The Helo TC app can record and store up to 3 flight plans, perfect for launching flying-attacks on unsuspecting friends and family.
- Average flight time - approx. 8 minutes
- PolyLithium Fuel Cell - 3.7V @ 180 mAh
- Flight Deck Controller Sled powered by 4 AAA batteries
- Recommended for pilots aged 14 and up
- Suitable for use indoors only
- Helo TC app is a free download from the iTunes App Store; iOS 4.0 required.
Pricing and Availability
Priced at £34.99, the Helo TC will be available for the Christmas season.
For more information, visit www.griffintechnology.com.
About Griffin Technology
Founded on Paul Griffin's kitchen table in 1992, Griffin Technology Inc., is today one of the world's foremost creators of accessories for home, mobile, and personal technology. Unique products such as iTrip(R), PowerMate(R), iFM(R), iMic(R), and Evolve(R) Wireless Speaker System have broken new ground in consumer electronics and created loyal fans the world over. Today, Griffin products are conceived, designed, and developed in-house and continue to push the envelope of the industry they helped create. Learn more about Griffin's entire range of ingenious designs at www.griffintechnology.com.
(C) 2011 Griffin Technology Inc. iPhone and iPod are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. iPad is a trademark of Apple Inc. All other product names and trademarks are property of their respective companies.