Aircraft

Powered paper airplane gets some improvements, and lots of crowd-sourced money

The new-and-improved PowerUp 3.0
The new-and-improved PowerUp 3.0
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An optional portable battery charger is available with a pledge of $40
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An optional portable battery charger is available with a pledge of $40
The new-and-improved PowerUp 3.0
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The new-and-improved PowerUp 3.0
The plane communicates with a flight control app on a paired iOS device via Bluetooth 4.0
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The plane communicates with a flight control app on a paired iOS device via Bluetooth 4.0
The battery is recharged using a micro USB cable
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The battery is recharged using a micro USB cable

Early this year we first heard about PowerUp 3.0, a kit that converts an ordinary paper airplane into a powered, smartphone-controlled flying aircraft. Inventor Shai Goitein has made some improvements to the product since then, and recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance its large-scale production. At the time of this posting, he's exceeded his funding goal by over 960 percent.

The original PowerUp 3.0 prototype consisted of a processor and capacitor joined to a propeller and tail rudder by a carbon fiber shaft, all of which could simply be clipped onto a user-supplied folded paper airplane made from regular A4 or 8.5 x 11-inch copier paper. It communicated with a flight control app on a paired iOS device via Bluetooth 4.0, allowing a human pilot to steer it left and right, and up and down.

The improved version (3.1?) replaces the capacitor with a micro USB-rechargeable battery – room has been made for it by reducing the size of the circuit board. Together with a new energy management system, this reportedly boosts flight time past the original's claimed 10 minutes. Goitein has also added a feature that automatically boosts thrust when the plane banks left or right, making it simpler to control.

Additionally, its range has been increased to over 180 feet (55 m).

If you're interested in getting one of the first production PowerUp 3.0's, you can do so with a pledge of US$30. For $40, you'll also get a portable power pack for recharging the battery on-site.

"I think we surprised the crowd with something no one would believe can be done," Shai tells us. "In all cultures everyone knows how to make a paper airplane, it is like riding a bike, so this becomes a very personal and lovable idea."

The kit can be seen in use in the pitch video below.

Sources: PowerUp, Kickstarter

7 comments
Jimmy the Geek
Looks cool but how do you control pitch with no movable elevator?
Tyro
Jimmy, as far as I can tell the pitch would be controlled by varying the power to the propeller. With the paper elevators already in an up position all you would have to do is increase thrust to gain lift. To descend simply retard the throttle and allow the plane to glide down, as it would without a power plant. It would probably drop even faster than an unpowered paper airplane due to the additional weight of the power unit on the nose.
KRC1023
Well, If it ever runs on android, I will get it. Otherwise... Looks cool but in the end all it is is another silly apple-exclusive product.
gerald
As an ex military pilot I can tell you, Jimmy the Greek, that Tyro is right on the money with his explanation.
Jean-Pierre Paats-Williams
this is not fun enough, I want this company to create little engines and accessories enabling my friends and me, to create mobile/flying oregami of all types! please, sooner, than later, we can t wait!
Prateek Jain
Sad that it is only available for iOS. I simple bomb dropping mechanism could add to office fun!
noteugene
Cool for a soldier to have in seaching out a building.....
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