Cameras and iControlled helicopters take flight from Swann
By Enid Burns
January 7, 2012
An iPhone app and a camera take flight in the new remote control helicopters from Swann. Three models include i-Fly Micro Lightning, Sky Eye and Black Swan. The i-Fly Micro Lightning lets you control the helicopter via an app for the iPhone, iPod or iPad. The Sky Eye and Black Swann models house a camera capable of taking still and video images.
Swann, a company known for its security monitoring and home surveillance kits as much as fun gadgets (like its underwater camera and baby monitor), makes a line of helicopters for indoor flight. The helicopters use gyro technology, a trim adjustment that adds stability and makes it easier for someone to pick up and fly the RC helicopter without spiraling into an untimely crash.
The i-Fly Micro Lightning is meant for use with an iPhone or other iOS device. Pilots control the helicopter using the Swann iFly app. It comes with a transmitter that plugs into the audio jack on an iOS device. Users can control flight by pushing the button controls on the iPhone screen, or using "tilt" mode, which lets users fly by tilting the iPhone with gesture-based controls. This feature uses the accelerometer to control the helicopter. A 3-channel infrared control operates the directional functions including up/down, forward/backward and left/right turns. While the iPhone is the recommended way to fly, a remote control is included and also charges the i-Fly Micro Lightning for eight minutes of flying time.
The Sky Eye has a camouflage paint job for that military helicopter look. It has a camera that can shoot video and still photos, stored on 512 MB memory built into the helicopter. The aircraft gets charged by the remote, which takes six AA batteries, and can fly up to eight minutes per charge. A 27 MHz radio frequency lets the helicopter fly up to 110-feet from the remote. That's enough to do some spying, though the 3-channel infrared controls mean it still requires line-of-sight to fly.
The Black Swann takes on a stealth helicopter look with shiny black details. The aircraft stores photos and video on a Micro SD, which can go up to 32 GB. The limitation still remains the eight-minute flying time per charge, and the infrared line-of-sight controls.
Swann did not give details on the megapixel density of the camera in the Sky Eye and the Black Swann helicopters.