Parrot’s AR Drone 2.0 won a place in our hearts for flying high yet being easily controllable from our favourite iOS and Android devices. The company’s just taken that concept and then miniaturised it, with the Parrot MiniDrone and the Jumping Sumo.
The MiniDrone is essentially a smaller version of the copter we know and love. It’s got those same autonomous auto-pilot capabilities, making it super easy to control. The one thing it drops is a front facing camera, but it gains something neat: Wheels. You can attach two giant, but very lightweight wagon-wheels to the sides of the MiniDrone. This enables you not only to fly, but to to roll along the ground, up walls, or even across the ceiling. It’s definitely a cool effect. It also uses Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, which should help it save a little battery, but you’ll definitely have to stay a lot closer than you would with the full-sized Wi-Fi version. That’s probably for the best. Since it doesn’t have a camera, you’d better keep an eye on it.
The Jumping Sumo is a rolling, two-wheeled car. Again it’s controlled by tilting your smartphone or tablet, but this one does have a camera which pushes live video to your mobile device over Wi-Fi. It zips around very quickly on the ground, with its wide wheel-base, or you can squish the wheels in closer to it can spin like crazy.
As the name suggest, the Jumping Sumo’s banner feature is… jumping. It reels back, pauses, and then launches itself into the air. It’s got a max height of just over 76cm, so you’re not going to be leaping tall buildings in a single bound, but you might make it onto a table-top, and at the very least you can scare the bejeezus our of your cat.
No word on pricing or availability on either of these yet. Parrot’s rep just said, “Sometime in 2014.” We’ll be looking forward to crashing them into things until then.