Smartphone-controlled gaming drones to bring dogfights to the office
We've seen drones used to capture video, find fish and monitor crops, but what about using these Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for indoor office dogfights? That's the thinking behind the new set of gaming drones from TobyRich, which let you race against friends or go head-to-head in aerial combat no matter what the setting.
The German company, which has dabbled in smartphone-controlled model planes before, wants to fund three new drones through its latest Kickstarter campaign. Combined with a free app for iOS and Android, the new planes mix augmented reality (AR) overlays with actual camera feeds to give users a host of different single and multiplayer games to tackle.
For example, you could take on a colleague in a dogfight in the office canteen, or try and beat your best time through an augmented reality obstacle course that uses a car park as its backdrop. Thanks to the camera, sensors and GPS on board the UAVs, you get a real-time feed of the action through your smartphone or tablet.
The magic of AR lets you blast rockets and machine gun fire at an opponent without actually endangering anyone who works near your desk. If you don't want anything quite so frenetic, you're free to use the drones as normal remote-controlled airplanes.
The company promises great performance and long flight times, and says that modern sensor technology even allows the small, durable and agile planes to hover like a helicopter if needed.
The app allows users to set different difficulty levels. includes an autopilot mode and has an emergency recovery button that helps get a UAV back to you. There's a tutorial included to help you get to grips with flying from a smartphone, as well as optional joystick controllers that can be attached to a tablet.
There are three planes to choose from. Super early bird Kickstarter pledges for the basic tobyrich.vegas option are still shown as available for €89 (US$100), while the tobyrich.toyko drone (with added 720p camera and GPS) is up for €135 ($150) to early backers. The tobyrich.guru includes a 360-degree camera and 4G/LTE capabilities so you can check on the video feed no matter how far away it gets, but is currently locked as a stretch goal.
If all goes as expected, the first drones are scheduled to be shipped in December.
You can check out the TobyRich pitch video below.