Parrot's AR.Drone was a surprise hit at CES 2010, but if you can't wait for the off-the-shelf option and want some quadracopter action right now then there are a couple of DIY projects that might scratch that itch. The Quaduino NG and the AeroQuad (pictured) both rely on the Arduino microprocessor as their flight boards, combining gyroscope information with other sensors to make steady flight more straightforward.
Video demos after the cut
Parrot are yet to announce pricing for the AR.Drone, but we're not expecting the quadracopter - which is remotely controlled from an iPhone or iPod touch, and can beam live video back to the user's handset from an onboard camera - to be cheap; similarly, putting together your own (basic) version from off-the-shelf parts isn't inexpensive either. The Quaduino NG team estimate around $505 (excluding a suitable controller).
The end result lacks the design finesse of the Parrot version, but it potentially much more flexible since Arduino is so terribly open to tinkering. Future mods to the AeroQuad include the same sort of live video feedback as the AR.Drone has, together with an LED display board and improved auto-pilot skills.
Quaduino NG video demo:
AeroQuad video demo: