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Last Updated: December 23rd, 2013

Take a gander around the more general tech blogs and you might spot the PowerUp 3.0. It's a recently-funded Kickstarter campaign for a gadget that adds powered flight and remote control to a paper airplane. It's not much more than some gears, a rudder, and a Bluetooth control module, but the simplicity is appealing enough that it reached its $50,000 funding goal in less than eight hours. Now the campaign has passed $150,000, the stretch funding goal for the creation of an Android app in addition to iOS.

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The PowerUp is basically a 21st century take on the old rubber band airplane, those cheap concoctions of balsa wood or Styrofoam that line hobby shop walls. It's a sort of outboard motor for a paper plane: an electronic module with a Bluetooth chip at the front connected to a rudder and propeller at the back. The pre-production version of the plane motor has been given an iOS app that controls the output of the propeller and the yaw of the rudder via Bluetooth.

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It's not clear why PowerUp creator Shai Goitein didn't think an Android app was necessary at the $50,000 level, or indeed why a triple funding goal was needed in order to serve a platform comprising about four-fifths of the smartphone market. (According to the description, Goetein and company have been working on the iOS app for 18 months.) The Bluetooth 4.0 module in the device will necessitate and Android 4.3 or later phone or tablet with a compatible Bluetooth radio.

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Backer packages that include the PowerUp 3.0 hardware start at $30 for one device and go up to several hundred for beta packages and extra hardware. PowerUp 3.0 is scheduled to ship in May of next year (though Kickstarter campaigns should always be approached with a healthy heap of skepticism), but there is no guarantee that the Android app will be available at launch.

Source: PowerUp 3.0 Kickstarter

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • aatifsumar

    Some clarifications.

    No need to buy the charger if you have a portable USB charger of your own. I specifically asked and he clarified.
    {Aatif Sumar about 18 hours ago
    Hey,
    What is the current the device can support? Instead of using the charging device you supply, can I charge it with my own portable battery pack via its USB Cable? It has a 1 and 2A rating output. Will that damage the airplane?
    A:
    The device will take up to 250 mA current while charging.
    Yes you can charge it with any power pack as long as it has a USB output.
    No, 1A or 2A charger will not cause any damage, the chip will only take what it needs.}

    So you can buy the bare bones package for $30.

    Also initially he was using an app that was specifically made for another type of RC Airplane (TobyRich) and he had a deal with them to use it on his product.

    Now that he has crossed 150k, he can allocate money to building an Android app (4.3+, since it needs Bluetooth Low Energy) from the ground up.
    Can't wait for May 2014!

    • ssj4Gogeta

      What you have to look at is the voltage, not the current. The current is the max the charger can supply. How much is drawn will depend on the device attached to the charger.

  • Pyrotek85

    This is actually pretty cool.

  • Mado

    TIL that iPad mini is a smartphone

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/pamela-hill/ Pamela Hill

      Yeah, It only wishes it was a phablet. (or fonblet)

    • charitaszn773

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  • David Hart

    My dad got in on this when I was at like $45,000
    I'm actually excited about it

  • xnadax

    Searching the web, you can buy a very similar kit with a regular RC controller for about $30. I actually prefer hardware controls to touchscreen ones.

    • akshay7394

      I do too! But to me the inviting part isn't that, or even the price (though that's a major part of it), but the ease-of-use. Think about it; if you accidentally fly into a tree and break a wing.... just tear out a sturdy sheet and make a new plane!

      (Unless I'm drastically misunderstanding how this works.)

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