The AR Drone is one of our favorite gadgets of the year. We first saw it at E3, and said that it was like something out of a Metal Gear Solid game.
Have a look, it flies around, has a camera for augmented reality games, and is controlled by the iPhone over its own wifi network. No wonder it will set you back $300. It's definitely on our Christmas wishlist, and would make an awesome gift for the gadget geek in the family.
It definitely has a lot more going on inside that we first thought. Here are some pieces of an ifixit teardown. When they crack open a gadget, you know it's cool:
They mention that the hull is attached with a pair of magnets, one in the hull and one in the body. This makes for easy opening and repair. They also say that the body is made of something called expanded polypropylene (EPP) which is a common material that is light and easy to manufacture into complex shapes. Under that is the battery, for easy replacement. Which you will need to replace often as it only lasts about 12 minutes (ouch!).
The underside of the Drone can be removed to reveal this:
It has a 16-bit microprocessor, a gryoscope and those two cylinders called the (together now) "ultrasound altimeter," which basically helps keep the copter sable within six meters from the ground.
This assembly (below) makes up each of the four propellers:
And here's the camera:
It all comes apart pretty clean, as seen below: