Traditional quadcopters can be kind of awkward to transport, with their four propeller arms sticking out to the sides. As a result, we've recently seen a number of folding drones. One of the latest, the LeveTop, takes the form of a cylinder when not in use – plus it has some other useful features.
When its arms are folded in, the LeveTop can be stuffed in an optional carrying case, then carried around like a thermos. When it's time to fly, the arms are pulled out and locked in place, and an accompanying iOS/Android control app is used to perform an automatic take-off.
Once in the air, the drone is manually controlled via that app from a distance of up to 100 m (328 ft), either using onscreen controls or by tilting the smartphone. It can also utilize its image recognition system to autonomously follow its user as they run, cycle, ski, etc., plus its GPS unit allows users to set geographical boundaries from which it can't stray.
Video is recorded on an onboard MicroSD card – plus it's streamed to the phone – via a stabilized 1080p/30fps CMOS camera.
One two-hour charge of the removable 1,500-mAh lithium-polymer battery is good for a claimed 20 minutes of flight time. As is the case with take-offs, landings can also be performed automatically via the app, with the drone returning to its point of take-off on its own … although it does look like the thing might easily tip over when landing on soft or uneven surfaces.
If you're interested in getting a LeveTop of your own, it's currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. A pledge of US$129 will get you one, assuming it reaches production. The planned retail price is $289.
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