A flying drone that folds up and fits in your pocket will be available in the US later this year. It’s being marketed as a tool for producing dramatic action video rather than dropping explosives.
The Pocket Drone reached its Kickstarter funding goal of $35,000 in a matter of hours after being demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas this week. It’s main feature is the ability to fly while carrying a digital video camera, with the initial model specifically designed for the GoPro range that’s popular with extreme sports enthusiasts. The drone itself weighs around a pound and it can carry a camera of up to half a pound (or any other small enough object you want to send into the sky.)
Users have three options for controlling the device’s flight, which is limited to around 20 minutes. The first is a good old-fashioned remote control of the kind you get with a toy helicopter.
However, the drone also has GPS on-board, so you can program it to follow a specific route using Google Maps. Alternatively you can pair it with an Android phone or tablet (via a receiver that plugs into a spare USB slot) and the drone will then fly or hover so that it’s always above the Android device. The idea here is to create aerial videos, for example of somebody mountain biking.
At launch it will be available in three main packages, with the basic model at $495. For $50 less you can get it without a remote control and either use your own, or stick to controlling it via an Android device (including an option to use virtual control sticks on a special app.) For $100 more you can get the drone with a video camera included.
The precise release date isn’t confirmed yet, but the makers say that other than finishing the packaging and instructions material, everything is set for the first production run, which will be possible now that the funding is in place.