Israeli 3D Tech Behind The World’s First Drone For Extreme Sports Photography

By David Shamah, The Times of Israel July 02, 2014 Comments

Israeli-developed 3D printing technology is helping a Latvian company enable extreme sports enthusiasts take the ultimate selfie — a drone that follows them and shoots video of their performances from the air as they do triple wheelies, a “360” on a skateboard, ride the surf, or any of their other adrenaline-pumping activities.

Using 3D printers developed in Israel by Minnesota-based Stratasys — which merged with Israel’s Objet 3D Printers in 2012 — Helico Aerospace Industries, the company behind the AirDog, has been “printing” components of just the right size and shape for a drone that is taking the sports world by storm.

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The AirDog is the world’s first action sports drone that follows users automatically as they engage in their favorite extreme activities. The AirDog, equipped with a GoPro high-definition video camera, designed for taking video of fast-action outdoor sports, captures much more of the action than a regular video camera can, said Edgars Rozentals, co-founder and CEO of Helico Aerospace. “AirDog not only provides users with their own affordable and personal aerial video crew, but goes one step further in providing thrilling footage from distances and angles previously inaccessible to consumers,” Rozentals said.

Users strap on and activate a lightweight remote control device called the AirLeash, and the Airdog takes off, tracking users wherever they go and filming them from the air. The system works automatically, using sophisticated algorithms to take video from the best angles. The waterproof AirDog has a flight time of 10 to 20 minutes, depending on speed, and is capable of moving at up to 40 miles per hour (65 kilometers per hour). It has a range of up to 1,000 feet (300 meters), can operate up to nearly 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) above sea level, and weighs just four pounds (1.8 kilos) with a battery. It’s ideal, the company says, for any kind of action sports — biking, skateboarding, wakeboarding, surfing, skating, skiing, and more.

The project has proven wildly popular, raising over half a million dollars on Kickstarter in just two weeks. The company had sought just $200,000 in its one month fundraising window, hitting its original goal in just three days.

This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission. To continue reading this article on the TOI site, click here.

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