on 27 April 2016
If your hand-eye coordination skills leave something to be desired, or the exposed blades of quadcopters currently on the market make you feel uneasy, this could be the drone for you.
The Hover Camera, created by Zero Zero Robotics, doesn’t look like your typical drone. In fact, the company’s CEO Meng Qiu ‘MQ’ Wang would prefer you not consider it one at all, preferring to call it a ‘flying camera’.
Like other quadcopters, it is fitted out with four propeller blades and a (13MP) camera on the front. Beyond that, however, its features and appearance differ greatly.
First up, it’s impossible to miss that the rotating blades are contained within an enclosure to prevent accidents. The device’s carbon-fiber chassis is lightweight—it weighs in just over 200 grams (half a pound)—and rigid, though it can easily be folded and stored in a compact case along with its battery and charger. As it’s so small and light, no FAA registration will be required in the United States.
Wang told Mashable: “The main consideration [in the design of the Hover Camera] is portability, user friendliness and safety.”
It will hover where you place it (up to 164 feet), and you can even play frisbee with it!
An accompanying app can be used to control the camera, with various simple finger swipe motions directing the device to move up, down and around and to take pictures and video.
If this is too much, you can set it to ‘auto-follow’ mode in which it will use its camera and software to identify faces and follow them. Very cool, just as long as nobody goes on to use the technology to make the Minority Reports’ spider robots even more creepy and invasive.
Wang stated: “We wanted the user experience to be very natural—easy to use. We wanted to make sure the learning curve for users is minimum. So there is no remote control or anything. There’s no calibration process.”
When you’re done with creating, you can easily put your pictures and videos online using the camera’s Wi-Fi hotspot.
Expect eight minutes of flight time per battery, though the camera will come with four of them to allow you to quickly switch to a fresh one.
We may have to wait longer for a hoverboard that Marty McFly would approve of, but this device is leading the way in that it actually hovers, unlike those exploding safety hazards that hit the market with gusto last year.
The Hover Camera is set to go on sale later this year, with an expected RRP of under US$600.
If you want to get your hands on one to check it out, the company is looking for people to put the Hover Camera through its paces. Tell them what you’d do with it here and you could get your own.
We’ll be sending in a request for sure, though without the words ‘Kai’, ‘drop’, ‘break’ or ‘destroy’, probably.
I love the way that technology is going!