Marc Saltzman: App Dad


Control a (Miniature!) Porsche with This Free App

Silverlit's Porsche 911 Carrera is controlled via iPhone, iPad or iPod touch

There's no shortage of radio-controlled vehicles on the market these days—be it cars, helicopters and robots—all controlled by a nearby iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.

Now, auto aficionados can get their hands on a miniature Porsche 911 Carrera—complete with functional headlights, tail lights and signal lights.

A free app called Silverlit's Porsche 911 Carrera HD for iPad (or just Silverlit's Porsche 911 Carrera for iPhone and iPod touch) controls the silver Porsche ($79.99) wirelessly via Bluetooth technology.

Rather than pushing forward, back, left and right with a traditional R/C joystick, the app allows you to use gestures to control the action. Simply tilt the tablet or smartphone in a given direction to adjust speed and steering. Specifically, you'd tilt your device forward to accelerate, lean left and right to turn or pull back to reverse or remain idle.

Should you prefer the classic driving controls found in other R/C remotes, you do have an option to switch from gesture mode to a touch-screen joystick setting. You can also adjust steering sensitivity and acceleration curve settings in the app's options area.

Along with authentic sound effects (from the car itself), there are also vibrations that deliver the rumble and feel of real driving (iPhone version only). The hobby-grade 1:16-size Porsche, which boasts beautiful detail even when viewed up close, also has front and rear suspension, a working Porsche horn and the aforementioned turn signal, hazard and headlights.

The car requires four AA batteries and is recommended for children ages 8 and up.

If the $80 price tag isn't an obstacle, the Silverlit Bluetooth RC Porsche 911 is a fun R/C toy for hobbyists, thanks in part to the clever app used to control it.