Sorry selfie sticks, it looks like your days may be numbered.
If recent projects like Nixie and Zano are any indication of what is to come, 2015 may very well turn out to be “year of the dronie.” Looking to usher in this new era, Shenzhen-based startup ElecFreaks has unveiled a nano HD camera-equipped quadcopter that is capable of capturing videos and photos from a variety of angles. According to its description, the pocket-sized ELF not only features cutting-edge technologies but a fully-hackable platform as well.
Similar to other next-gen flying selfie devices, ELF offers instant takeoff and connects directly to its accompanying smartphone app via Bluetooth. To initiate launch, users simply slide their thumb up, click the “capture” button and the mini UAV heads off into the sky. Meanwhile, an embedded Wi-Fi module enables users to snap special moments and share them online in real-time.
What may differentiate ELF from others available today is its virtual reality integration, which allows pilots to experience first-person 3D views of everything the drone sees without requiring any additional remote control or costly imaging transmission modules. The ELF VRdrone app can even convert these images into “side-by-side” format by merely attaching a phone to a VR cardboard set.
In true Maker form, ELF is completely open-source and hackable. Moreover, the ‘copter boasts a fully 3D-printed hull and motor mounts. This means users can modify the hardware to redefine new functionalities, personalize the app and 3D print their own drone. Beyond that, anyone can learn and start building their own ELF using readily available files including its main board design, electronics layout and schematics.
“We take open-source seriously. It is where we started and hopefully, by being truly open, we can ultimately get more advanced developers involved to help move forward and make the cutting-edge technology accessible to ordinary people,” the team writes.
Based on an ATmega328P, the Arduino-compatible drone is packed with an operating range of 15-30 meters and a flight time of around seven minutes, dependent upon weather of course.
ELF is currently live on Indiegogo, where the ElecFreaks team is seeking $20,000. If able to attain the necessary funds, future stretch goals include adding a “take off” and “land” button to its app, offering compatibility with other VR devices, implementing a “follow me” mode, including 180-degree aerial panaromic shots, as well as developing an SDK for future drone applications. Interested? Head over to its official page here.