Technology has been a part of all our lives for centuries, but not everything created has been useful: think lead water wings or a steam powered aspirin tablet. Silly stuff aside, taking something simple and enhancing it to the nth degree is what geek tech is all about, and there’s no better example than the lowly paper airplane. It’s made out of paper (duh!) and folded into a shape by hand and then tossed in the air to navigate the winds as best it can. Hours of fun can be had, but add the PowerUp 3.0 Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplane and it’s a whole new sky to fly in.
The PowerUp 3.0 looks a bit like someone took a toy plane and stripped out the middle section: there’s a front cockpit with a clear plastic covering revealing electronic components beneath. Plus an antenna. The center section is a skinny plastic (?) rod connecting the cockpit and the rear tail section, which has a propeller attached to it (so yes, this is no jet engine). Figure it will take about 5 minutes to remove it from the nicely packaged box holding it — you want to take your time and be careful because, while not flimsy, it obviously requires some care to avoid damaging the props from mishandling.
So okay it’s there on a table or the floor with you looking at it. What next? First you had better download the free app (iOS/Android) or nothing good is going to happen. It’s probably also a good idea to charge up the PowerUp 3.0 since it needs power to work (via a USB connector). Give it some time since you want it fully charged so it will fly for as long as possible.
Now for the hard part — making a paper airplane. Actually this is pretty easy as most of us have done this years ago and it’s like riding a bike, you just remember what to do. But the paper airplane needs to be made properly if the PowerUp 3.0 is to fit inside and work well, so follow the directions that are provided for doing this. And practice till you get it right.
Now it’s time to insert the PowerUp 3.0 into the paper airplane and firm it up. Take it outside because it’s going to fly and unless you’re in an auditorium or have a huge indoor space, the walls are going to be too close and too inviting for a crash. Besides, with a range of 180 feet it makes sense to take this to the great outdoors.
So go ahead and start up the app and acquaint yourself with the controls — taking a good look at the app earlier is probably the smart thing to do. As will having a second person to do this with you (make it a “family” thing), since it will be a lot easier to access the app and work the paper airplane if someone else is launching it. Ready? Start the props whirring and launch the paper airplane and work those controls on the app as Bluetooth sends signals between it and you for controlling the direction of the paper airplane as it flies (obviously what is happening is that you are controlling the rudder). Should the plane fall too soon (the average flight time per charge is 10 minutes), just pick it up and try again. Patience and skill will prevail, but just to be safe a spare rudder and propeller is included. And remember to bring a smartphone battery charger to recharge “in the field.”
The PowerUp 3.0 Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplane costs $54.99 and is all about fun and taking the simple act of flying a paper airplane to the 21st Century. Will everyone be staring at you and what you are doing every time you launch? For sure.