PhoneDrone Turns Your Smartphone Into A Following UAV

Kickstarter Project We Love Turns Your Mobile Device into an autonomous aerial camera

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

When we said at CES that drones would be everywhere, we really weren’t kidding. Seems like every day we see a story about a new unmanned aerial vehicle that can get that bird’s-eye-view, and with each one, comes more automated features including controlling one with your smartphone. So it was only a matter of time until someone came up with a design that would enable you to use your phone as the drone. That’s what XCraft’s PhoneDrone is all about.

You may have seen other drones that are controlled by a smartphone. And PhoneDrone has that capability. But there is one key innovative difference, your smartphone actually flies with the drone inside a universal case. We really believe that PhoneDrone can redefine the personal drone and allow anyone with a smartphone to enjoy this extraordinary technology. – PhoneDrone on Kickstarter

Utilizing features already built into your smartphone, namely the GPS, accelerometer, and other motion sensors, the PhoneDrone lets the your smartphone handle all the navigation and video work, while the drone just does one thing. Fly. Indoors or out.

While still in development, the PhoneDrone looks to have several killer features and one that even the DJI Phantom 3 doesn’t have yet … it can follow you (if you have a second mobile device).

“With our free app you can do everything from telling your phone where to go, how high to fly, stream video feedback to another mobile device, or even have it follow you like a bodyguard while you walk,” promises the Kickstarter campaign page. “It will even come back to you if its battery is too low.”

The app allows users to set altitude, speed, and flight path restrictions, including the ability to draw out your flight path on Google Maps. Cool use of that API. In case you’re wondering how it can shoot forward video while the camera is sitting flush in the cradle of the PhoneDrone Housing, XCraft went with a simple, adjustable mirror to reflect the action into the camera lens.

The app also can fly indoors as well as outdoors so long as your phone has a solid GPS signal. But while the video shows the PhoneDrone being used to autonomously shoot the inside of a real estate property, obstacle avoidance isn’t included in the current model.

“We plan to incorporate ultrasonic sensors which will allow PhoneDrone to see and avoid obstacles while flying,” says the Kickstarter page about future upgrades that also include gesture control. That would be cool.

The Phone Drone is collapsible, so users can place it into a backpack or purse and transport it to a needed location. It can then be setup and deployed in seconds with just four easy steps:

Step One: Setup your Phone Drone.

Step Two: Open the Flight Command app, and select your type of flight (mission, follow-me, or joyride).

Step Three: Fold out the arms of the drone and set Phone Drone on a smooth surface.

Step Four: Step back, count to five, and fly.

Other features include:

  • Easy to use – Unlike many of the drones you see today, The Phone Drone is as easy to use as opening an app on your phone. In fact that’s how you do it!  No drone experience necessary.
  • Affordable – You already have a camera and a computer in your pocket. Since we are just giving it wings we are able to cut out all of the things that normally make drones so expensive. Everyone has a smartphone in their pocket these days. Not everyone has a GPS Controlled flying phone that does what you tell it to do!
  • Familiar – Don’t be surprised if you experience a little Deja vu when programming your first flight mission. You might even think you accidentally opened your Google Maps app!
  • Hardware upgrades as fast as your phone does!
  • Since your phone is the camera, you will never have to upgrade your drone in order to be able to capture the best video possible! When you get your new phone your drone gets a new camera!
  • Easy to use – Unlike many of the drones you see today, The PhoneDrone is as easy to use as opening an app on your phone. In fact that’s how you do it!  No drone experience necessary.
  • Affordable – You already have a camera and a computer in your pocket. Since we are just giving it wings we are able to cut out all of the things that normally make drones so expensive. Everyone has a smartphone in their pocket these days. Not everyone has a GPS Controlled flying phone that does what you tell it to do!
  • Familiar – Don’t be surprised if you experience a little Deja vu when programming your first flight mission. You might even think you accidentally opened your Google Maps app!
  • Hardware upgrades as fast as your phone does!
  • Since your phone is the camera, you will never have to upgrade your drone in order to be able to capture the best video possible! When you get your new phone your drone gets a new camera!
  • Control and video streaming -Easily pair to another mobile device for control and video streaming.
  • Built in charger – Charge from any USB source – or swap batteries for extended flight times.
  • A camera mirror –  Shoot straight down, forward, or anywhere in between!
  • Packable -PhoneDrone’s arms swing closed to make it ultra portable.
  • Compatible – Phone works with all popular iOS and Android smartphones.
  • Control and video streaming -Easily pair to another mobile device for control and video streaming.
  • Built in charger – Charge from any USB source – or swap batteries for extended flight times.
  • A camera mirror –  Shoot straight down, forward, or anywhere in between!
  • Packable -PhoneDrone’s arms swing closed to make it ultra portable.
  • Compatible – Phone works with all popular iOS and Android smartphones.

Another cool benefit is, that you can livestream through your phone’s 4G/LTE connection via apps like Meerkat or Periscope, or even UStream. And hey, Android users can play, too!

Phone Drone is currently halfway through its Kickstarter phase and seeks to raise about $250,000 to complete app development and begin manufacturing. During this time, users can choose a low cost $99 print your own version, which enables users with a 3D printer to take Phone Drone 3D files and print their own airframe.

Users will also get obstacle avoidance sensors and the Phone Drone app itself. If that’s too much work, you can still get the $199 early bird deal which offers the Phone Drone ready to fly. There are also various higher reward levels including carrying case, extra batteries, and charger.

Looks like a really fun drone for those looking to minimize their gear footprint, but still get that great shot. I don’t know if I’d put my iPhone 6 in one, but I have a spare 5 collecting dust, so why not? Of course, with a smartphone drone, it won’t be long before something like this happens to an unfortunate person:

https://youtu.be/vcV71liAMwc

About doddle 16509 Articles
Doddlenews is the news division of the Digital Production Buzz, a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news, and podcasting.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*