PowerUp’s module has an ultra light weight, mini computer on one side that is about the size of the quarter. Bluetooth Low Energy connects it to your smartphone and it charges with a Lithium battery power pack. A thin carbon fiber frame connects the computer to a little propeller on the other end.
You attach the module to the paper airplane using PowerUps clips. From the iPhone app, you can tell the plane to ascend and descend using the “throttle lever,” tilt the phone right or left for maneuvering, and check indicators for charging status, battery level, thrust level, direction, and range.
Project creator Shai Goitein said the plane can get 10 minutes of flight on one charge and can be controlled at a range of 180 feet.
Goitein first found the inspiration for this project in 2008 when he was teaching aerodynamics to underprivileged kids in the evenings. The product has gone through multiple iterations over the years. The Kickstarter campaign for PowerUp 3.0 launched in November 2013 and has attracted widespread excitement and support.
PowerUp’s “barebone” package costs $30 and is expected to ship to all backers in May, and be available for wider purchase in June. An Android version of the app is in the works.