Humble paper airplane gets a 21st century upgrade
Mike McLeodGeneral Aerospace Aerospace crowd funding kickstarter product development
PowerUp 3 smartphone controlled paper airplane add-on raises nearly $600,000 in Kickstarter pledges.
Playing with paper airplanes may seem childish but for aviation enthusiast and industrial designer Shai Goitein, tinkering with toys can become a very grown up business plan. The New York native’s toy start-up TaylorToys has developed the PowerUp 3, a lightweight module that can turn any paper airplane into a remote controlled drone, capable of maneuverable powered flight.
What’s more, the reusable component has raised nearly $600,000 from more than 10,000 backers on crowd-funding site, Kickstarter.com, with approximately 40 days still left in the campaign.
Durable and lightweight, the PowerUp 3 clips onto the front of any paper airplane. A small propeller and rudder at the back provide propulsion and flight controls while a small nose assembly at the front houses the toy’s Bluetooth receiver and rechargeable battery.
Junior pilots can fly the PowerUp via a iOS or Android smartphone app that provides many of the instruments of a real plane, including thrust lever, artificial horizon and magnetic compass as well as charge level indicator and range distance.
The rudder is controlled by accelerometer so that turning is simply a matter of tilting the smartphone. The PowerUp 3 has a range of approximately 60 yards (55 meters) and about 10 minutes of flight time.
Sadly, the PowerUp 3 won’t be ready to ship by Christmas 2013 its creators say, but TaylorToys has signed agreements with key suppliers and contract manufacturers. They expect to begin shipping the first production toys by January with a full retail release by the summer 2014.