The art of cyber-stalking is about to get an upgrade, as a team of computer whizzes on Kickstarter.com work towards a pocket-sized drone that is silent, maneuverable and, most importantly, so easy to set up it could probably be used by a chimpanzee.
What’s more, the “world’s first multicopter” is built well enough to carry a portable camera – any camera, in fact, as long as it’s about 15 grams in weight – and can even be operated from an Android phone or tablet via a USB port.
As the AirDroids explain, their device was created out of a need for simpler designs accessible to anyone, lightweight, at low cost, upgradeable and hackable, and with advanced systems onboard – like autopilot. All of this is, of course, given a very innocent, unassuming gloss on the project’s page.
However, there is something very civilian-minded in this project. The creators, who also founded and lead the Drones User Group Network, are on a mission to empower civilians – not spy on them.
The creators explain that the DUGN is “dedicated to teaching people to build and operate their own flying robots… and there wasn't anything out there that was both powerful and convenient to carry. So we decided to create something that combined the best of everything we had seen, but was more elegant and accessible.”
Enter ‘The Pocket Drone’ – “the world's smallest heavy lift micro-copter. It's as powerful as an open source kit, works out of the box with everything you need like an off-the-shelf product, and is easy to take with you wherever you go, without having to bring along an extra case or bag just for your drone.
We've gone through dozens of iterations to create the perfect drone product that can be used by everyone,” Timothy Reuter, founder of The Pocket Drone, explains.
And there is the photography aspect: the toy is being hailed as cutting-edge aerial photography without the big bucks. The device is powered by solid research into aero-dynamics, engineering and piloting software design. It will have folding propellers, built-in landing gear, a custom-designable controller system, easy to fix, inexpensive to buy (cheaper than a DSLR camera), quick to deploy out of the box, and weighing in at about 30 grams. The device can also stay airborne for as long as 20 minutes.
The project has been so successful that it has now achieved 10 times its initial $35,000 pledge mark and still has 46 days to go for people to pledge. Everyone who has contributed will receive their very own drone.
While the emphasis seems to be on taking breathtaking aerial photos, it is hardly believable that in the age of networking, taking pictures of Central Park or Red Square will be the first thing on people’s minds. At least not before a few sudden scares, laughs and shower room screams have been had.