Handheld Overlords
By Alfred Bayle - on 27 Feb 2012, 12:10pm

You’ve seen us play with the AR Drone before, an Android/iPhone controlled quadcopter. And we have to say it was one of the most fun 12-minutes of our lives. Half the fun was flying this quadcopter around and the other half is using our very own tablet and smartphone to do it, complete with a HUD (heads-up display) and a first-person perspective of the action!

Pricey at PhP 23,000, but almost unparalleled in terms of geek and fun factor.

But this actually not something new as advanced iPhone users have been tinkering with all sorts of devices to remotely control for some time, including a car! This time we add another device to the list of smartphone controlled devices, a DSLR. We just recently stumbled upon this surprising Android app which appears to have been in development since 2011. It is an app that is specifically designed for Canon EOS DSLR cameras. However, it does so via USB connection instead of the usual wireless connection utilized with smarphone controlled devices. Check out the video below.

Nikon users will have to look elsewhere or wait for the devs to make an app compatible with Nikon cameras.

Now with smartphones looking to get more powerful this year, it’s interesting to think what other devices kooky engineers around the world will think of next. To give you an idea, here is some of the commercially available stuff that has been tried out in the past couple of years.

Looking for a robot to do your bidding? Well the Hexapod can’t exactly get your coffee for you but it is kinda cool having a robot controlled by your Android device. While the AR Drone is controlled through a private Wi-Fi connection to your Android device, this 6-legged walker is being controlled through a Bluetooth connection. It even has an onboard camera similar to the one that made the AR Drone experience so awesome. You can see the POV on the iPhone but only slightly. The app appears to have been homegrown and won’t be found on the Android Market.

On a lighter note, we have the Sphero, a cute little light-up remote controlled ball that responds to your Android or Apple device. It really doesn’t do much aside from roll around, make little children giggle, and annoy cats. And no it doesn’t transform into a miniature Transformer (although there’s a thought for you robot builders out there). What the Sphero does offer is a variation of activities through different apps available in app markets such as the SpheroCam that lets you take a video while you pester someone with your rolling remote-controlled ball of joy and annoyance.

But we all know what we really want from our smartphones is something along the lines of being able to commandeer military satellites to spy on people the way Tony Stark did in Iron Man 2. Perhaps in a few generations.

Alfred Bayle

Alfred Bayle / Senior Technical Writer

Amateur photographer, self-proclaimed storage junkie, PC gamer and human swiss-knife, Alfred joined the team back in 2007 straight out of college, lured by the smell of fresh new gadgets and mind-boggling computer wizardry. He juggles his time between graphics cards and mobos, photo shoots, Otaku conventions, PC games, collecting anime figures, and sorting files on his hard drives.