PowerUp 3.0 lets you control a paper airplane with your smartphone


February 12, 2013

PowerUp 3.0 is a kit that allows users to remotely control a powered paper airplane, using their smartphone (PowerUp 2.0 pictured)

PowerUp 3.0 is a kit that allows users to remotely control a powered paper airplane, using their smartphone (PowerUp 2.0 pictured)

About a year and a half ago, we took a look at something called the PowerUp. It’s a capacitor joined to a propeller by a carbon fiber shaft, that can be used to power a user-supplied paper airplane. At the time, we suggested that it would be good if the user could actually steer the PowerUp-powered plane by remote control. With the soon-to-be-released PowerUp 3.0, it turns out, that’s just what they’ll be able to do.

As with Tailor Toys’ original PowerUp, the 3.0 is attached laterally to any folded paper airplane, made from regular A4 or 8.5 x 11-inch copier paper. However, whereas planes equipped with the original simply flew in a straight line, planes sporting the latest version can be controlled via the company’s flight control app – a Bluetooth 4.0-equipped smartphone is required.

Not many details (including images) are available regarding PowerUp 3.0, but if it’s like the first version, it requires a 20-second charge from an included three-AA-battery-powered charger. That gave the original a flight time of 90 seconds – the company claims flight times of up to 10 minutes for the 3.0, although that may be allowing for the option of gliding between boosts from the propeller.

We asked the company how the device is actually able to control the airplane’s path of flight (does it have its own little ailerons?), but have yet to hear back. In any case, it’s scheduled for release this August, at a price of US$49.99. It can be seen in action in the video below.

Source: Tailor Toys via Technabob

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

it might move a small weight around in the tip to change direction.

Tom Hirschmann

I think Tom H might be correct. It seems shifting a weight might be the way it is controlled. It would not be so different from hang gliders and ultralight trikes.

There is mention of a Power Up for paper boats. I think that would be interesting too.


Want. RC Planes & helicopters is one of my hobbies. This gadget looks like a lot of fun :D

Joe Sobotka

yeah it really doesn;t show anything that would reveal how it works

weights have problems though - namely - weight

a heavier plane needs more power to fly, reducing flight time

but maybe that is it

unless maybe some kind of variable pitch helicopter-like propeller blade that could direct thrust up down left and right

that would be expensive and heavy though



It could use its own battery as the steering-weight.

Jon A.

if you stop the video you can see some kind of rudder below the prop. all so with the prop set so high ailerons aren't required.


oh probably controls altitude via speed: faster = climbing then a left/right rudder would be the missing piece but it;s been spotted


Torque steer by motor speed control maybe

Stephen Colbourne

The 2.0 version is sold on Amazon...Just purchased one...interesting to see how well it works. $14 for the 2.0 version. $50 for the 3.0 version seems a little excessive!


Looks like it might use motor speed control to climb and descend. To turn, it may have a rudder, or it may swivel the motor itself to the right or left, like a simple thrust vectoring system. That would be cool if it had a thrust vectoring system. In the next version, they should make it so you control pitch as well, again with a thrust vectoring system, but in this one the motor would swivel up and down as well as left and right.

Jordan Dole
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