So, it turns out that people really like paper airplanes, and by that we don’t mean the M.I.A. song, although that’s pretty neat too. No, we’re talking about PowerUp’s Bluetooth propellor kit for paper planes that enables you to steer your origami aircraft. Creator Shai Goitein had already developed a propellor kit for kids, but took to Kickstarter to raise funds for a smartphone-controlled model with a rudder, and was staggered when it managed to raise its $50,000 goal in just seven hours. In fact, the current figure is hovering just beneath the million-dollar mark, and there’s still 14 days worth of funding left to go.
Goitein’s career has ranged from industrial designer to cargo plane pilot, but it was his work with children – coupled with a desire to combine his passions of aviation, origami and technology – that inspired him to craft the device. So, how does it work? Once you’ve folded some paper and attached the PowerUp 3.0 to the central crease, you pair the module with your smartphone over Bluetooth and fire up the app. Not only will the software show you an artificial horizon and range information, and as you move the phone from left to right, the rudder will move in time. Charging over a microUSB port, it promises around 10 minutes of flying at a time, and thanks to a rubber and carbon-fiber construction, shouldn’t break no matter how many crash landings it’s forced to make.
Thanks to the overwhelming level of support for the project, Goitein has already commissioned the production run, so early backers should be receiving their units well ahead of schedule. The retail version, meanwhile, will be priced up at $50, which includes a module, some paper and a guide to help you craft the perfect plane. There’s also the matter of more stretch goals, with a dogfighting mode in the works – whereby two models can go at it together in mid-air, ably assisted by button mashing users on the ground. If the project manages to get to the $2 million mark, Goitein will also investigate the feasibility of adding a camera to the next version, adding a whole new level of excitement for