Nerf-like missile takes creative aim with a GoPro payload

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AER's foam bumper is cut in such a way as to not block the GoPro camera lens' wide-angle view while recording(Credit: AER)

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Over the past several years, it has become increasingly common to hear stories about individuals floating cameras to the edge of space by way of balloons. But if you want to enjoy some spectacular shots a little closer to home – and with better odds of retrieval – the latest GoPro accessory will put your throwing arm to the test. AER, currently funding on Kickstarter, is designed to give GoPro cameras a set of aerodynamic wings and crash-proof bumper for a different type of photo experience.

Anybody with a GoPro and a bit of curiosity has likely lobbed the camera while recording, just to see what the resulting video looks like. It's amazing how entertaining first-person anything can be, hence the wide variety of GoPro mounts, harnesses, and tripods for most any activity imaginable. And soon enough, you may be able to add a foursome of fins to that growing list.

AER looks like it could have been made by Nerf, given the simple structure constructed from expanded polypropylene foam. The pair of wings are designed to slide into each other, giving an overall appearance of a compact rocket. Hard case-equipped GoPro Hero 3+ or Hero 4 cameras snap right into the head – a special insert is included to accommodate the slightly smaller size of the GoPro 5 – before screwing on to the top of the body to hold it all together.

From there, you make sure the camera is turned on, then just pick a direction and throw.

Unlike the similar Birdie GoPro camera accessory, AER doesn't feature parachute fabric to create drag for softer landings after being launched. Instead, a thick foam bumper integrated into the head's casing is designed to absorb the brunt of impacts. The foam is cut in such a way as to not block the camera lens' wide-angle view while recording, allowing users to relive the flight in all of its glory.

Although both are meant for aerial GoPro photography, AER likely earns an advantage for longer distances and greater accuracy. If you've ever fired darts from a Nerf gun and compared it to throwing badminton shuttlecocks, you probably understand that the former is far more effective for target practice. The same principle applies to AER, since its streamlined shape is meant for cruising and stable flight. With the right (or wrong?) kind of aim, as seen in the company's promotional video, AER may give added meaning to the term "photography head shots."

Despite the impressive structural properties of expanded polypropylene, it can still break after a sufficient amount of force has been applied. AER's creators haven't overlooked this fact, citing plans to sell replacements for individual parts instead of having users purchase complete kits once again.

The AER Kickstarter campaign has raised 53 percent of its €$70,000 goal (approximately US$78,409) in five days, with another 30 days left of funding to go. Early-bird pledges start at €$49 (approximately US$55).

If molding and manufacturing go according to plan, backers can expect shipments to start as soon as this December.

Check out the video below to see AER in action.

Source: Kickstarter

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