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We were all pretty wowed back in January of 2010 when Parrot introduced their Parrot.AR drone. Wowed because A) it’s a quadrotor, and we were still kind of on our collective honeymoon with the quadrotor concept in general; B) its fancy fly-by-wire system makes it so stable and easy to fly that virtually no training or practice is required; C) it’s controlled wirelessly using a smartphone or tablet; D) it has full telemetry, accepting wireless commands and sending back real-time video, E) you can use it to play augmented-reality flying video games, F) it’s made with carbon-fiber composite, specially designed propellers, and other high-tech, high-performance bits.

There are probably a few more letters I could add, but you get the point: The Parrot.AR drone is manifold awesome. And on top of it all, the Parrot.AR drone teardown on iFixIt saw one of the highest repairability scores that our pals over there have ever awarded. They cite the Parrot.AR’s repair-friendly design, the use of easily demountable fasteners, connectors, and subassemblies, and great repair support from Parrot itself, including readily available replacement parts and a series of how-to-fix it videos on the Parrot.AR site. And while a certain amount of repair-friendly design is just common sense in any R/C aircraft, common sense is not always so common, and even in the R/C market Parrot’s repairability still goes above and beyond the norm.

So congratulations, Parrot! Welcome to the running for the 2012 Makeys.

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Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.


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