Earlier this month, we reported on the PowerUp 3.0 – a US$50 kit that lets you control a powered paper airplane via your smartphone. At the time, we were still waiting to hear back from its designer, regarding how a simple add-on motorized propeller could be used to actually steer the plane. Now we know.
To recap our previous article, the PowerUp 3.0 kit consists of a capacitor joined to a propeller by a carbon fiber shaft, that can be attached to a user-supplied folded paper airplane made from regular A4 or 8.5 x 11-inch copier paper. Using an iPhone equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 and PowerUp’s app, the user can then control the flight-path of that plane. But how?
As was suggested by some of our readers, the kit turns the plane via a small tail rudder, and climbs and descends via throttle control – this means that whenever it speeds up, it climbs, and whenever it slows down, it descends. According to creator Shai Goitein, the rudder is controlled simply by tipping the phone left or right.
“The really cool feature is the on-board accelerometer which gives the artificial horizon on the iPhone realtime airplane orientation, you can virtually fly it just by looking at your phone,” he added.
A PowerUp 3.0-enabled paper airplane can be seen in flight in the video below.