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Meet the PowerUp Dart: A smartphone-controlled paper airplane that does stunts

POWERUP DART Aerobatic App Controlled Paper Airplane
With its mission of creating motorized paper airplanes, popular toymaker PowerUp has gradually added more functionality to its kits over the past several years — ranging from motorized propellers to Bluetooth remote control functionality. Its latest kit, newly arrived on Kickstarter, adds a much-requested focus on aerobatic stunts to the mix.

“The PowerUp Dart converts your pastime homemade paper airplane into an aerobatic smartphone-controlled paper plane that can do 3D tricks like loops, barrel rolls, and spins in midair,” creator Shai Goitein told Digital Trends. “Normal paper planes can fly just a few seconds; the PowerUp can fly up to 10 minutes on a charge. It can also take off and land from the ground. The free app connects instantly to the detachable Dart control module. Thanks to Bluetooth smart connectivity, tilting the phone controls the direction of the flight, and added thrust controls the ascent, descent, and tricks.”

A former industrial designer and pilot, Goitein says that the PowerUp concept was born in 2007, when he was working with kids to teach them about aerodynamics. As part of the prep for one of his classes, he discovered that new miniaturized technology made micro flight possible. This led him to develop a series of paper airplanes, with the latest one being his most successful yet — it’s the No. 1 campaign currently on Kickstarter.

“We launched on Apple day,” he says, referring to the company’s recent iPhone X media event. “[That] was kind of not ideal since no media was available for our story. I mean, Apple, right? But fortunately, this bold move was rewarding for us, since many other projects delayed their launch and gave us a quiet day to stand out.”

Goitein doesn’t have an ideal vision of a customer, because the idea of a smartphone-controlled paper airplane appeals to such a wide range of users. However, he says he can easily imagine it fitting in as an object of envy in the office. “Can you imagine a paper airplane with wheels and propeller waiting to take off from your desk?” he said. “Imagine a happy hour fun activity with paper planes zipping through the air! It is just pure fun and amazement.”

The PowerUp Dart is currently available for pre-order on Kickstarter where, at time of writing, it has received $335,643 of pledges against a goal of just $25,000. Prices start at $29, with shipping set to take place in December.

Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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