Kickstarter doesn’t always breed the most interesting innovations, but it happens often enough where we have no choice but to highlight one. The latest project that deserves your attention is Fleye, a fully autonomous drone.
This cute little thing can hover and fly about a room — even one with moving people — all on its own. The drone uses a combination of a magneto sonar sensor and a traditional camera in order to map the objects around it, allowing it to fly through a space without hitting anyone or anything.
The drone isn’t sentient, of course, so you’ll likely have to set its flight path up manually before it’ll whiz off on its own (and if you ever want or need to take control of it, it’s easy to do that using the smartphone app it pairs with). The drone can fly for up to 10 minutes, in which time it’s able to capture photos or video on its 5 megapixel 1080p sensor. Its design is such that folks won’t be seriously injured if they somehow come in contact with the drone.
The drone’s platform is even open source and extendable, so developer types can come up with their own interesting ways to use it outside of the default stuff it’ll ship with. Speaking of which, here are some of the things it can do out of the box:
- Selfie: backs up to a given distance, and captures a video while flying smoothly back towards you.
- Panorama: goes to a given altitude, and rotates on itself to capture a 360° panorama.
- Hover: hovers in place with 10cm precision (when in range of sensors) so you can focus simply on altitude and viewing angle.
- Manual: it is of course possible to fly manually, either with the virtual touch-gamepad or a bluetooth game controller. You can also add your own RC receiver to Fleye.
So, you’re probably thinking to yourself: “all of this doesn’t sound cheap.” You would be right. The early bird entry price to grab the standard edition (512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage and dual-core chipset) of one of these things begins at around $636, with its normal price jumping up by more than $200 at $848. the power edition — which adds 1GB of RAM, a quad-core chipset, 8GB of storage and MIMO WiFi — will start at around $1,060.
Fleye is expected to start shipping around September of next year, but with something as ambitious as Fleye that needs all the finesse in the world to pull off we wouldn’t be surprised if a delay is eventually announced. Understanding and accepting those expectations, if Fleye sounds interesting to you then be sure to throw in some dollars over at its Kickstarter page.