By Evan Ackerman
I’ve played around with RC aircraft a little bit, by which I mean I’ve managed to plow a large and expensive helicopter into the ground upside down and backwards at 40mph. After that experience, I’ll be glad to move on to something a little more friendly, like the FlyTech RC Dragonfly from Wowwee. It’s got a very simple control system, it’s remarkably durable, and it can fly for around 10 minutes after a 15 minute charge. Video courtesy T3:
Also revealed today by scientists at the University of the Mediterranean in France is how insects like dragonflies keep themselves from plowing into the ground upside down and backwards at 40mph, with their 10 milligram brains and 55×55 pixel eyes, no less. In a nutshell, all the insects seem to do is watch how fast the ground moves beneath them, from which they can derive a relationship between their altitude and airspeed. The researchers were able to program this simple formula into a small camera-equipped electric helicopter, which was then able to ascend, descend, and hover.
For those of us who aren’t quite as clever as your average insect, the FlyTech Dragonfly looks to be somewhat crashable. It’s available now from RadioShack for $49.99.