Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Nvidia Shield: Piloting A Drone With The Tegra 4 Handheld

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 7 comments

Nvidia just announced that its Shield console will be delayed until July. We've been playing with one though, and wanted to post our first experiences using Shield to pilot Parrot's AR.Drone 2 using the latest build of its AR.Freeflight software.

We featured Parrot’s AR.Drone 2.0 in last year’s holiday gift guide. Once our model, Ashley, was done taking pictures with the foam-shielded quadcopter, we snatched it away, took it outside, and started flying it around our cul-de-sac using Parrot’s app for iOS. Now, given what an iPhone can do, the software is pretty nifty. But control certainly wasn’t what I’d call natural, smooth, or even intuitive. It was a lot of flicking around the phone’s screen, trying to get the drone to go where we wanted.

Obviously that would be a total waste on the Shield’s touchscreen. So, there’s now a Shield-optimized version of the AR.Freeflight software that lets you control the drone using joysticks. It’s a completely different experience. I’m pretty sure I completely drained the Parrot’s battery five times just trying to get initial impressions written up. In the video below, I handed Shield over to my father, who proceeded to nearly run me down with it. But hey, whatever, he was having fun.

Tom's Hardware Flies Parrot's AR.Drone 2 With Nvidia's Shield

Of course, you retain all of the on-screen functionality, like automated take-offs and landings. Shield’s five-inch screen is also where you see the camera’s 720p output, and where you’re able to start a recording. But the two joysticks take care of control. The right stick is tasked with up/down and rotation, while the other one banks left/right and pitches forward/back.

Shield would make for a very expensive (and not altogether comparable) remote control, on top of the $300 AR.Drone 2.0. But if you were already planning to buy Shield for its more primary purposes, and Parrot’s quadcopter was on your wish list, know that the combination is so much more fun than using an iOS- or Android-based smartphone to fly.

Nvidia just announced that, instead of availability this week, its Shield handheld should be available at some point in July due to a recently-discovered issue with part of the device. More from us when we receive the updated unit!

Display 7 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • 0 Hide
    Wisecracker , June 26, 2013 1:31 PM
  • -1 Hide
    kickmyjiminy , June 26, 2013 1:39 PM
    Shield just found a whole new user base, peeping toms!
  • 1 Hide
    CaedenV , June 26, 2013 1:53 PM
    way more scared about my neighbors spying on me than google or the gov't
  • 0 Hide
    teh_chem , June 26, 2013 2:26 PM
    Project Shield: Reaching for reasons for its existence...
  • -1 Hide
    __-_-_-__ , June 26, 2013 2:40 PM
    why is this an article? ar.drones can be controlled with ANY android device with wifi. it includes cell phones, pc's, tablets, even digital cameras.
    about the controls, just connect a ps3 controller to the android device via usb or bluetooth. much better.
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , June 26, 2013 3:27 PM
    Quote:
    why is this an article? ar.drones can be controlled with ANY android device with wifi. it includes cell phones, pc's, tablets, even digital cameras.
    about the controls, just connect a ps3 controller to the android device via usb or bluetooth. much better.

    It can also be controlled via iOS, and the story says as much. But it also says this is a lot more fun than flicking around on the screen of any of those devices. Haven't tried with a PS3.
  • 0 Hide
    Wisecracker , June 26, 2013 4:41 PM

    I 'reckon' there are customers (however limited) for the Shield but it sure is off to a rocky start with the delay until July and the $50 price cut before it even hits the market.

    Is the pay service still part of the plan?