AR.Drone | Remote-Control Weirdness

AR.Drone worries me

Phone, camera, MP3 player and now remote control. Image from Flickr.

Phone, camera, MP3 player and now remote control. Image from Flickr.

Because the Consumer Electronics Show features items that aren’t even on the market yet, and thus in the early stages of development and marketability, there are always some products that are more for “wow” factor than for actual use. I think, and on some levels I hope, that the AR.Drone is one of those.

The AR.Drone is  a circular hovercraft-type thing with a camera that sends live video feed to your iPhone. It’s also controlled by your iPhone, like a remote control. So you could potentially use this device to spy, basically.

Details on AR.Drone

Not to encourage this, but Parrot, the company that makes the AR.Drone, says it will cost “less than $500,” which probably means about $500. It’s supposed to be out this summer, so plan your installment loans accordingly, if you’re into buying remote-control spy drones.

CNN says the drone is about twice the size of a Frisbee, and it hovers a few inches off the ground. It’s somewhat comforting that because of its size, the AR.Drone won’t exactly be stealthy, and thus not very effective at spying, but still. Why give weirdos another method for stalking and spying on people? It kind of gives me the creeps.

Help me out, here

I’m sure there are plenty of people who would use it just for fun or just because it’s a cool, new gadget. I’m interested, and a little concerned, to see what this technology develops into. Clearly, the size of the AR.Drone will preclude it from being an effective spying device, but we’ve seen plenty of examples of technology getting smaller and smaller and smaller.

I’m trying to figure out some sort of practical application for a giant, hovering, video-streaming Frisbee. So far, I haven’t thought of anything. Maybe I just need to drink some more coffee. Do you have any ideas? What would you use the AR.Drone for?