From follow-me offerings to high-end professional drones with specially designed screens, there are a huge number of different takes on how to keep your flying camera in the sky. The latest comes from XDynamics, which has created the world's first dual-screen controller for its Evolve camera drone.
According to XDynamics, the dual screen setup designed for its Evolve smart drone borrows from smartphones and handheld games consoles. The top screen acts as a seven-inch viewfinder while the bottom five-inch display acts as a multi-touch control panel, helping minimize the number of buttons on the controller. Although it hasn't provided a brightness figure, the company says the content of both displays will be easily visible in direct sunlight.
The novel dual-screen setup can be used to keep up with the status of the drone and monitor alerts, plan waypoints on a map and share info on social media. The controller's computing power comes in the shape of a quad-core CPU and a dedicated GPU, along with 4 GB of DDR3 RAM. It's running Android OS, and features a USB port, MicroSD slot and a MicroHDMI port for external connectivity.
"The remote controller is what differentiates XDynamics
Evolve from competitors the most," says Benny Chan, CEO of XDynamics. "It has everything prepared and covered. You need no separate
apps, smartphones, and cables to assemble a full-function remote controller. Performance, reliability,
and safety are within your reach."
Controller aside, the four-rotor Evolve drone has been designed with film professionals in mind. It makes use of a carbon fiber monocoque chassis, cradling a 12.4 megapixel Sony CMOS sensor and 21 mm F2.8 lens capable of shooting 4K at 24 frames per second, 2.7K at 60 fps and 1080p at 120 fps. If you're not keen on the standard lens, gimbals able to support mirrorless and panoramic cameras are optional.
In the air, a GNSS module works with optical flow and LiDAR sensors to provide precise position tracking, although there is no mention of any obstacle avoidance technology – let alone anything remotely similar to the advanced systems being squeezed into DJI drones now. Instead, pilots will need to rely on the zero latency images being streamed back to that fancy dual-screen controller to make sure they don't get tangled up in scenery.
The XDynamics Evolve will be on display at CES 2017, with the 4K Sony CMOS model to go on sale in Q1. Interchangeable lens models will follow in Q3.