Pocket-sized drone slides right into a smartphone case
Just like the selfie stick before them, tiny drones are giving those concerned with self-portraiture more reach than ever before. The AirSelfie is the latest flying camera to zoom into the arena, and may just be the least cumbersome one we've seen, with the ability to slide away into the user's smartphone case when not in use.
When all you really need is a decent enough camera to hang in the air for a few moments and capture a memory or two, the necessary hardware can be packed into some pretty small packages. A number of interesting takes on the selfie drones have popped up over the last year or so, including one that wraps around the wrist like a bracelet, one that folds shut like a book and another with the shape and size of a small water bottle.
But stuffing it away into a smartphone case is something we haven't yet seen, although that case is going to be bulkier than most. The AirSelfie's aluminum frame measures 3.72 x 2.65 x 0.42 in (9.5 x 6.7 x 1 cm) and is stored in purpose-built smartphone cases, which also house a battery said to recharge the drone in 30 minutes. Compatible smartphones include the iPhone 6, 6s, 7, 7 Plus, Huawei P9, Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. For those without a compatible phone, a separate power bank is available that can be used to charge the drone up to 20 times. It also sports a Micro-USB port that can be used for charging.
The drone connects to iOS or Android phones via its own Wi-Fi network, where users can control it via a companion app. There are three different flight modes to choose from, with "Selfie mode" seemingly the simplest, where users only need to concern themselves with moving the drone closer for tighter shots or farther away to fit more in the frame. There are a couple of more advanced modes, one using a single virtual joystick and another simulating a classic drone controller with the phone held horizontally.
AirSelfie carries a 5-megapixel camera for stills and is said to grab HD-quality video, both of which are stored in the 4 GB onboard memory. Users can also download and share their captures from within the accompanying smartphone app over the Wi-Fi connection. The drone can fly up to 66 ft (20 m) away, 66 ft (20 m) in altitude and remain airborne for three minutes at a time.
A Kickstarter campaign is currently underway for the AirSelfie drone, where its makers are looking to raise €45,000 for production. At the time of writing they are well on their way, amassing more than €20,000 of that goal so far. Early pledges of €179 (US$189) are available, which will have a drone, phone cover and Micro USB cable headed your way in March 2017 if the campaign plays out as planned.
You can check out the pitch video below.