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PowerUp 3.0 – here's how it works

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February 22, 2013

A paper airplane equipped with the PowerUp 3.0 kit, which is controlled via PowerUp's flig...

A paper airplane equipped with the PowerUp 3.0 kit, which is controlled via PowerUp's flight control app

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.

Source: PowerUp Toys

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
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4 Comments

Great idea, just about $20 too expensive. You can buy a nice small RC plane with $50 that has much better performance.

Michaelc
24th February, 2013 @ 09:41 pm PST

@Michaelc You're paying for a power unit to put into your own custom airplane. you can make/test/design a ridiculous combination of airplane designs. And it can be used as a teaching instrument.

As in real life, not everybody wants to fly commercial. What fun is that?

Mexoplex 5 Million
25th February, 2013 @ 08:46 am PST

How about using the actuator to bend the propellor shaft?

Bruce Crosby
25th February, 2013 @ 10:54 am PST

This is very cool! I hope the PowerUp 3.0 will be available in android too!

Joanna Haidee Ramos
14th January, 2014 @ 03:06 am PST
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