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Have you ever found yourself attempting to construct “the perfect paper airplane” for the ten thousandth time only to look down at your smartphone and wonder what it would be like if you had more control over this simple flying craft? Probably not, but thanks to Shai Goitein’s PowerUp 3.0 that’s exactly what you’re about to start thinking.
Paper airplane tech hasn’t exactly changed very much. The folds get a little more specific as you get older, and you start playing with the weight of paper you use, but by and large the concept remains the same. You throw the airplane, and if it isn’t destroyed by the “landing” you can scoop it up and try it again.
What if you could strap an engine to your paper airplane and get a little more mileage out of it? What if that engine was Bluetooth 4 enabled and could be controlled by your smartphone? What if this seemingly magical accessory was only $30? These are all questions that someone else has not only asked already, but answered via Kickstarter.
The PowerUp 3.0 is a tiny propeller with a rudder that sits in the center crease of your paper airplane. You control the design, and then clip this engine in when you’re ready for takeoff. The engine connects to your phone via an app, which gives you basic controls over flight and speed.
The basic version of the Kickstarter includes one clip in engine and access to the app, but Shai Goitein has also made developer kits available so others can join in to make the app better over time, or to just flat out design something for themselves.
The current design promises 10 minutes of flight with at least a 150 foot range for the module. It seems like there’s no real limit to the kind of flexibility offered here, meaning you could probably purchase multiple units for larger airplane designs if you wanted. The Kickstarter plans to start shipping in spring, so the wait will be minimal compared to a lot of other projects out there right now.
It’s hard not to be excited about something like this, especially when it meets the intersection of geeky fun and reasonable price.