Despite the fact that it has propeller blades and has a built-in camera ready to capture your every move, the Hover Camera is anything but a drone. In fact, its makers over at Zero Zero Robotics would rather have you refer to it as a flying camera instead.
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The weight of the Hover Camera is 238 grams, and it lies below the Federal Aviation Administration’s standard size for hobby drones. The design is made to be portable and is said to be similar to a cassette tape once the propeller wings are folded inside a carbon enclosure.
“We wanted to build products that are portable,” Meng Qiu “MQ” Wang, CEO of Zero Zero Robotics, says of the invention. “It’s very light. This is significantly smaller than any other drone devices out there on the market in this class. The main design consideration is portability, user friendliness, and safety.”
Another notable difference the Hover Camera has from the traditional drone is the fact that it can rise up to 164 feet high automatically, meaning there’s no need to pack remote controls or worry about it getting smashed as you travel. Part of its features is a face detection process called auto-follow mode. It has a built-in software in the camera, which follows a person locked in without bumping into other objects or figures along the way.
But for those who are more comfortable with taking actual control of the Hover Camera, they can use the app to act as its remote control. Controls aren’t that difficult, by the way, as they follow movement through a mere tap on the screen.
Photos are taken through a 14 megapixel front camera with up to 4K resolution for video recording with dual-tone flash. Another 3 megapixel camera is found beneath the device, which is utilized for its positioning and to avoid crashing into things. The whole device is capable of hovering 360 degrees in place while “360 Pano Mode”.
Based on the testing, critics have gone to comment that one flaw of the Hover Camera would have to be the loud propellers. This is fortunately what the developers are working on.
As for those looking into posting live videos of themselves in social media, then the Hover Camera has that covered too.
“It has a Wi-Fi hot spot on the device,” MQ added. “If I have 4G network, I get to keep my 4G connectivity, too. So I can post photos and videos to social networks.”
For those who have experiences with recording HD videos using their smartphones, they would notice that battery is drained too fast. But for the Hover Camera, users won’t need to keep changing batteries or charging it as MQ and his team have created a software that optimizes power consumption.
Battery lasts for eight minutes of flight time. Even if this is quite short, the Hover Camera is equipped with four batteries to give it at least 30 minutes flying time.
With all this smart technology that the Hover Camera has, it’s easy to detect that there will be similar products coming out in the market soon. But MQ isn’t too worried about that, saying, “It’s a lot harder to build things of this size versus bigger things. Something of this size needs to be built from ground up. We use a completely proprietary algorithm, as we’re squeezing every single drop of juice out of the Snapdragon 801; and we don’t use open source code because it’s not good enough.”
The Hover Camera is set to be launched late this summer and is reportedly priced at less than $600.