Drones

Facial recognition drone gives your selfie stick wings

Facial recognition drone gives...
The Roam-e drone features collapsible propellors that fold in against its body for better portability
The Roam-e drone features collapsible propellors that fold in against its body for better portability
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The Roam-e drone features collapsible propellors that fold in against its body for better portability
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The Roam-e drone features collapsible propellors that fold in against its body for better portability
After pairing it with an iOS or Android device, the drone uses facial recognition technology to detect the user up to 25 m (82 ft) away
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After pairing it with an iOS or Android device, the drone uses facial recognition technology to detect the user up to 25 m (82 ft) away
The Roam-e drone features collapsible propellors that fold in against its body for better portability
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The Roam-e drone features collapsible propellors that fold in against its body for better portability
The drone runs on swappable batteries and is said to take two hours to charge
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The drone runs on swappable batteries and is said to take two hours to charge
The Roam-e is a cylindrical drone claimed to be similar in size to a 600 mL water bottle
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The Roam-e is a cylindrical drone claimed to be similar in size to a 600 mL water bottle
The camera sits on a single-axis gimbal and shoots at five megapixels
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The camera sits on a single-axis gimbal and shoots at five megapixels

In some ways, selfie-snapping drones seem a natural progression from outstretched arms and ever-lengthening selfie sticks. It doesn't matter what kind of reach these tactics afford you, it will always pale in comparison to that of a flying camera. Roam-e is the latest drone to take aim at self-portraiture, and armed with facial recognition technology it is promised to always keep you in the frame.

The Roam-e from technology firm IoT Group is a cylindrical drone claimed to be similar in size to a 600-ml (20-oz) water bottle, with a diameter of 75 mm (2.95 in) at its widest point. It is designed to be compact and easily slid into a backpack or larger pocket for transport, much like the Sprite drone we covered last year. To this end, it also features collapsible propellors that fold in against its body.

With a flight time of 20 minutes, the 500-g (1.1-lb) Roam-e is said to be easy to fly in that users can simply fling it into the air and it will start hovering at a user-determined distance. After pairing it with an iOS or Android device, the drone uses facial recognition technology to detect the user up to 25 m (82 ft) away, which then combines with a Follow Me tracking function to keep them in shot.

The camera sits on a single-axis gimbal and shoots at five megapixels
The camera sits on a single-axis gimbal and shoots at five megapixels

"You don't need a controller," Ian Duffell, Executive Director at IoT Group explains to Gizmag. "Once you do the facial recognition on the phone you just set the Roam-e to follow you at a given distance. It doesn't need to be tethered, it is tethered to your face."

This sounds simple enough, if not a little confronting, but does mean that the user will need to remain facing the drone for it to continually track them. In the event that they turn away, the drone will stay hovering in place.

The camera sits on a single-axis gimbal and shoots stills at five megapixels. Duffell tells us that it both records and streams video to the paired mobile device, but details on video resolution are not yet available. The drone runs on swappable batteries and is said to take two hours to charge.

Over the last year or so we have seen a number of drones designed to take selfies to new heights. This list includes the palm-sized Zano, the Nixie selfie-drone that can be worn like a bracelet when not in use and, more famously, the Lily drone that has amassed US$34 million worth of preorders.

While these have all taken different approaches to the same problem, one thing they all have in common is that you can't actually buy them yet. This makes it a little hard for anyone to vouch for their high-flying automated selfie skills, so until these things start to land in the hands of consumers it's probably a little early to go turfing your selfie stick.

But the Roam-e's time may come soon enough anyway, with Duffell telling us the company plans to start shipping in June or July. He says more technical details will also be available ahead of the launch and that the drone will be priced at US$250.

Source Flying Selfies

7 comments
Mel Tisdale
One metric that would measure how 'successful' this device is has to be the number of injuries that are sustained from its unguarded rotors. I cannot see this device lasting five minutes in a regulated environment. People mock health and safety legislation, but if ever a device were in need of such, it has to be this one. Imagine the panic it would generate if it were launched at face height in a crowded stadium, especially after dusk when it could be heard but not seen nearby and it was getting nearer. I suppose safety goggles could become a fashion accessory.
splatman
Facial recognition? More like facial shredding. I can just imagine a hundred of these face shredders in St Peter's square or Times Square.
jerryd
Not a very good app but excellent choice of lift system. I'm surprised more don't use coaxial rotors as naturally stable and much more eff than more smaller rotors getting 2x's the payload or range at least. Following people on the street or any place with a lot of people is going to be hard. following a signal on the person, their cellphone maybe, would be far more reliable. But that is only in open space. Once in close quarters it isn't going to last long.
Bob Flint
The shear safety factor alone will doom this thing, besides the audio in a decent video selfie is still just a noisy whir in any flying consumer camera apparatus to date...
David A Galler
This device would be a cool accessory for an amateur filmmaker.
DavidGoldstein
Yes! We need new ways to take pictures of ourselves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_sIDMzjHeM
Riaanh
Oh, my what consumer driven narcissists we have become!