Ever since I was a tyke, I’ve had a special lil’ nook in my heart reserved for R/C cars. I’d rocket them off stairs. I’d build terrifyingly shoddy ramps out of LEGO blocks and cardboard. I’d repeatedly crash them into my older sister’s ankles and feign innocence by blaming my childish lack of hand-eye coordination (Remind me to apologize to my sister for being a little bastard.)
My only problem: I’d always, always lose the driving controller. Seriously — I somehow always ended up with half of the equation; one brick of an R/C car sitting silently, with no means of being told where and when to go*. That, or the damn controller was out of batteries.
The BlueDrone is a Kickstarter project aiming to do away with those endlessly wandering/wavering remotes by replacing them with… your Android phone.
The concept probably doesn’t need too much explaining: your pair your Android phone with the car via Bluetooth (hence “Blue”Drone), then steer the car with the onscreen controls built into a custom application. Check out their demo video:
The BlueDrone can eek roughly 3 hours of drive time out of 3 AA batteries, and has a range of about 30 feet.
It gets a bit cooler: tapping into the capabilities of the phone to bring new tricks into the mix, the custom app will allow the driver to use the device’s accelerometer to steer as an alternative to the onscreen wheel. You’ll probably have to provide your own engine revving/tire screeching sounds, though.
As with all Kickstarter projects, whether or not this thing actually gets built all boils down to whether or not they can raise the funds. They’re aiming to raise a rather sticker-shock-tastic $200,000, of which they’ve raised a bit over a $1,200 in their first day. Dropping $59 into the project gets you a R/C car of your own, with other pledge values offering up stuff like shirts, wrist bands, or (if you’re willing to plunk down a ton of cash) multiple cars and an Android phone to control everything. Here’s their project page.
The first person who mods this thing to fire little red shells at other Bluetooth-controlled R/C cars wins my undying love and affection.
* In hindsight, I’m realizing that my sister probably had all the controllers locked in a drawer somewhere. Guess I can’t really blame her.