updated 09:17 am EDT, Mon May 12, 2014
Upcoming Parrot Skycontroller will connect with VR headsets
Parrot has unveiled its latest remote-controlled drone, one which can take advantage of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. The Bebop Drone follows on from the earlier AR.Drone releases by being a compact quadricopter with a camera, except this time the company is offering accessories that can boost the range and the usability of the flying machine.
Parrot Bebop Drone
On the front is a 14-megapixel camera with a fish-eye lens, giving it a 180-degree field of view. Capable of recording full HD video, the camera uses three-axis image stabilization algorithms and a cropped version of the entire image sensor feed to maintain a fixed selected viewing angle, regardless of the drone's movement. Video can be captured to its on-board 8GB of storage, and can also be streamed to a host Android or iOS device running the drone's free controller app.
The optional Skycontroller adds some extra controls to the drone, as well as some extra functionality. Docking with a smartphone or tablet, the Skycontroller adds dual joystick controls that replicate the on-screen ones from the app, with a bank of four extra antennas increasing the range of the drone up to 2 kilometers (1.2 miles). The Skycontroller also includes a HDMI output, which allows VR headsets to connect to the accessory and lets the wearer look around from the front of the drone.
Parrot is aiming to ship the Bebop Drone and Skycontroller in the fourth quarter of this year, though a price has yet to be determined for either item.