The biggest kid in the park knows what he’d like for Christmas toy wise! An AR.Drone from Parrot! Remember the silver drones in the T3 movie? Well this is as close as I’d get to owning one for a long while. One of the most high tech and fun toys I’ve had the pleasure of test driving. Forget the little electric toy helicopters, this is a seriously cool bit of kit, 4 years in the making and a spin off of military research.

It doesn’t come with a controller, instead it uses an iPod touch, iPhone or iPad over WiFi. If you think this is overkill it isn’t, read on.  I’d expect an open source Android app to follow soon. The AR.Drone appears as a WiFi access point making set up very easy. It only communicates with one client at a time so nobody can take over your drone mid flight. Once connected it sends back a live video feed from one of the two 1.3MP cameras. One faces forward, the other straight down. Flying it just from the camera view is quite possible and given it’s 50 meter range likely to be used by the more adventurous.

Two simple controls that take advantage of multi-touch let you control the flight. The right dot spins the device around or makes it rise or fall. The left dot enables accelerometer control, from then on you twist your controller around and have the drone mimic your moves. When you let go it stops moving and auto levels. Battery life is around 15 minutes. When low the AR.Drone will slowly lower itself until it lands. What you see in the photos and video is a drone in it’s “In doors” skin. A hard plastic shell comes with the pack for out doors flight.

I asked the Parrot rep if there were other beefier models due any time, unfortunately not. If I want to sling a dSLR underneath something like this I’ll have to talk to the military! An even bigger one as a flying car would be quite a rival to the X-Hawk flying car design.

Spot the photog in the live video feed from the drone!

If you want to have a play get over to Canary Wharf’s main Jubilee Line entrance tomorrow, you can’t miss their big inflatable enclosure.  If you can’t make it to Canary Wharf find yourself a branch of HMV.