The ninth annual KAPi (Kids at Play Interactive) Awards that recognize the most innovative games, software, devices and apps for educating and entertaining today’s digital children have been announced.
The award for the Best Thing that Flies was won by the Aura Drone with Glove Controller, KD Group. This drone makes one feel one has magical powers with its glove that turns the human hand into a motion controller, making it super easy to pilot with just a flick of the wrist!
The KD Interactive Aura Drone is pure joy beyond imagination for every geek-fan of hi-tech toys. The Aura Drone toy targets children ages six and up, however adults will be mighty tempted to play around with it. It isn’t a professional drone, yet it delivers the excitement of flying remote control free, the wave of your hand all it needs to flip fly and hover.
The magic sauce is in the glove controller, which consists of a stretchy black glove overlaid by a circular controller interface straps on over your hand with two adjustable velcro straps ensuring a tight fit. It is paired with the drone done by pressing the on switch on the controller and keeping the hand flat, palm down. A rainbow of lights then flash on the controller and they turn a solid green — and the light on the drone turns solid blue — it’s good to go.
One can fly it around as long as the battery life lasts (around six minutes) and enjoy the amount of control by directing its motions with a wave of your hand. Pressing the side button as you turn your hand will accomplish a very cool flip. Press the button again to change the height, and the rest is in your motions — fingers down to go forward, pressed back to go backward and so on. Its creator, Philadelphia based Pramod Abichandani, a former robotics professor at Drexel University calls this ‘Gesturebotics’ which makes a lot of sense considering you’re using your hands as a controller.“If you look at the barrier of entry for piloting a drone, it’s usually in the joysticks,” Abichandani told Philly.com.
The Aura operated using one’s hands makes it feel natural and the simplistic design with minimal moving parts to fuss with is a treat. The charging uses a LiPo battery connector. The red safety cage covering the drone helps keep little fingers away from blades and provides some extra padding should the user crash it. Its built-in height and distance limiters mean one neither loses control of the drone nor risks losing it entirely. It is lightweight hence great for indoor use. Take off and land can be activated with a one button press, which simplifies getting started and once airborne it hovers, so you have time to adjust to navigating it with your hand.
Technically, the controller need not be strapped on to the glove as it can just be tilted about in the hand. The Aura is available for $79 on Amazon.