The High Tech Society

Power Up 3.0 – A Smart Paper Airplane that Teaches STEM

Kids

Power Up 3.0 – A Smart Paper Airplane that Teaches STEM

Most of us have built paper airplanes, and depending on their age, your kids may have as well. Unfortunately, with the vast amount of technology and color popping distracting apps on the market for kids today, they might not be interested in something so mundane as building a paper airplane. As you may know, something as simple as an airplane can teach you about physics, architecture, aerospace dynamics and design. It’s a fundamental skill that it would almost be a shame for your kids to miss out on. That’s where PowerUp 3.0 comes in.

What is PowerUp 3.0

PowerUp 3.0 is an attachable motor and rotor that allows you to turn any ordinary paper airplane into a smart toy. This means that you can control the paper airplane and fly it with your phone, just like you would with a drone. The catch is that you will pay $49.99 for the privilege of turning your paper airplane into a drone. Is it worth it? Maybe not depending on how much use you get out of it, but it does have a lot of pros and very few cons.

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Pros of PowerUpM

One of the best things about designing paper airplanes is that you can use them as lessons for physics, aerodynamics, design and even math. Taking the basic principal of a simple paper airplane and turning it into a smart toy boosts interest, but also adds additional design elements such as supporting weight, creating a toy that can move quickly or do tricks and adds the element of designing for a motor. No it’s not quite the fancy new drone that your kids probably want instead, but it can still be a lot of fun, and it can be educational. Home_Red_Plane_iPhone6

Several science projects that you can create around it include designing your own functional paper airplane, designing planes that can do tricks, calculating the velocity and landing space (using math) of the plane with and without the motor), editing an existing model to achieve faster speeds, and so on. The PowerUp 3.0 does come with three plane patterns, but once you get used to those, you can design your own with endless possibilities.

Cons

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Given a few Arduino pieces, a propeller and a small DC motor, you could easily build a paper airplane conversion kit on your own. The catch is that it will probably cost you somewhere around $25, it will be difficult to control the weight, and you won’t get the app, but can use a number of free apps to work with most Bluetooth RC. While you might have to tinker a bit to build your own, it is a good option if you like electronics or want to create an engineering game for yourself or your kids.

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The app also only offers limited control with just a rudder, which can be a disadvantage if you want to do tricks. Like a regular RC toy, it also might get boring fairly quickly if your kids are not into drones, flight or any type of STEM areas.

While relatively simple in outward appearance and a little more pricey then we would like, the Power Up 3.0 is a unique smart toy that you can use to boost interest in STEM subjects.