Hands-on: PowerUp 3.0 and 2.0 electric paper airplane conversion kits and more review
Technology is everywhere these days. It's even in kids' paper airplanes.
PowerUp is at the 2014 NYC Toy Fair, and it has a Bluetooth propellor kit for paper airplanes. The kit actually converts your origami into smartphone-controlled aircraft. Creator Shai Goitein, a former pilot and industrial engineer, said his career experiences led him to come up with the PowerUp 3.0 Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplane.
You may have seen the project on Kickstarter, where it raised $1.2 million in crowdfunding. People clearly wanted the ability to fold up some paper and attach a Bluetooth-enabled propeller contraption to the middle crease. The combination, when in conjunction with an accompanying app, is quite the sight, after all.
You can use your smartphone to turn the rudder and steer the paper airplane from left to right for 10 minutes at a time. The propeller kit features a carbon-fiber construction with microUSB charging, meaning it juices up relatively fast and will also survive most ground impacts.
You can pre-order the PowerUp 3.0 Electric Paper Airplane conversion kit on PowerUp's website for $49.99. You can also buy a $7.99 pack of paper templates for making all sorts of aircraft. But that's not all: You can also get a less-smart version of the PowerUp 3.0 called PowerUp 2.0 for $16.99.
The PowerUp 2.0 Electric Paper Airplane Conversion Kit provides up to 30 seconds of flight time. It includes a module, a paper template, battery pack, quick charging unit, and a spare propeller. Simply touch the charging unit to the module tip, and it will have a surge of energy that'll enable the plane to briefly fly. You can again buy templates for $7.99.
Apart from the plane kits, PowerUp also sells a $6 carbon-fiber propeller that launches from your fingertips and a $12 conversion kit for powered origami boats. The finger propeller, boat kit, and PowerUp 2.0 are available now, but the PowerUp 3.0 won't start shipping until June.
During our brief demo of PowerUp's lineup, we were quite impressed with the quality of the products. The paper in the boat kit felt thick and waxy, allowing it to outlast the touch of water, while the finger propeller was both light and delicate and could soar into the air easily.
And the conversion kits, they were the coolest of all. It was like being a kid all over again (being able to make paper airplanes), though having the ability to control the planes' flight with a smartphone made the experience so much more enjoyable.
The PowerUp 2.0 wasn't as amazing as the PowerUp 3.0, simply because we couldn't control it, but it was still neat to watch paper fly. The same thing goes with the PowerUp boat kit: being able to strap a motor to a paper boat and watch it jet off is just fantastic.
Check out the gallery below for pictures of PowerUp's entire lineup.