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Far Out Tech

Yes, You Can Turn a Paper Airplane Into a Smartphone-Powered Jet

Yes, You Can Turn a Paper Airplane Into a Smartphone-Powered Jet
Image credit: hiconsumption.com

Far Out Tech

It seems like every other day we read about some far-out, new technology that makes us scratch our heads and say, "What the heck?" In this series, we'll take a look at all types of crazy new gadgets, apps and other technologies -- and the entrepreneurs dreaming them up.

At some point, most everyone has faced the greatest of schoolyard challenges: how to create the perfect airplane. Often a combination of the perfect stock of paper, precise folds and your own self-patented wing design, everyone has their own winning secrets.

Schoolyard paper airplane battles are about to get a bit more high-tech with a new device from PowerUp that turns your paper airplane into remote-controlled jet using a small attachment and your smartphone.

That’s right. You can control your paper airplane with your phone.

The PowerUp Smart Module attaches to your standard paper airplane, allowing your airliner to move not only forward but also up and down and side to side, just like any other remote-controlled toy.

The idea for the plane was actually born in a classroom.

“In 2007 I had my ‘Eureka!’ moment when I volunteered to teach immigrant kids the principles of Aerodynamics,” says PowerUp creator Shai Goitein. “I had been researching the advances in micro-indoor flight and came up with a concept for a remote-controlled paper airplane and a first working prototype.”

Goitein created the first prototype of the device in 2011, going on to eventually market and sell the first version of the product, an electric but not controllable airplane called the PowerUp 2.0, in 2012. The newest version, PowerUp 3.0, adds remote-control capabilities.

To raise the $50,000 needed to start production of the device, he set up a page on crowdfunding site Kickstarter. With over a month to go in the campaign, Goitein has already raised over half a million.

“I’m surprised how many people believe in the idea and how much they love it. But deep down inside I’m not so surprised, because I always believed in the product. Also, it’s great to see how many people support crowdfunding it,” he says.

PowerUp’s success on Kickstarter means that when the device launches next year it will have both and Android and iOS app. It also means that Goitein’s team will be a lot busier.

“We now need to produce about 10 times more than we had expected before we launched the Kickstarter.”

A $50 investment will secure one of the first PowerUp 3.0 units when the device launches next May. You can pick up the PowerUp 2.0 now on the company’s website. 

What crazy apps and gadgets have you come across lately? Let us know by emailing us at FarOutTech@entrepreneur.com or by telling us in the comments below.

Emily Price is a tech reporter based in San Francisco, Calif. She specializes in mobile technology, social media, apps, and startups. Her work has appeared in a number of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, PC World, Macworld, CNN and Mashable.

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