Forget about cameras, tripods and even selfie sticks: a miniature drone will soon follow you wherever you go to capture that perfect selfie or action shot. This coming spring, Zano’s portable unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will be available to consumers and photography aficionados worldwide. It looks like this “sky selfie” gadget will free you from worrying about falling off the cliff when taking your own photo on an adventurous trek. Plus, you can leave your dog at home – this trendy little device will follow you around, so you’ll never be alone.
The drone, called Zano, raised nearly £1 million ($1.5 million) on Kickstarter in merely two weeks, far surpassing the £125,000 ($195,000) it was aiming for. Zano, which is a tiny, portable UAV that takes photos and videos, is turning out to be one of Kickstarter’s biggest success stories – not far behind the 10 highest-funded projects, which received $3.4 million to $10.3 million, according to Business Insider.
Behind Zano’s success is an Israeli company called OriginGPS, which has developed a small GPS receiver with an integrated antenna. The company recently announced that the Torquing Group – a British corporation that provides unmanned aerial solutions mainly to the defense industry – has integrated OriginGPS’ technology in Zano, in order to provide location information for automated flights while acting as a hands-free camera.
Challenging the competition with a $265 device
Zano’s device will record HD videos and snap 5 megapixel photos, and will also be capable of tracking the user from a distance of up to 30 meters. It will sell for an estimated $265, a fraction of the price competitor AirDog charges for its UAV camera – $1,295, according to AirDog’s website. Torquing is expected to unveil its much-hyped drone on January 5, 2015.
According to OriginGPS, Zano’s location capabilities are made possible through the 10mm-by-10mm GPS module developed in Israel. Thanks to OriginGPS, Zano’s drone measures 65mm by 65mm and weighs only 55 grams, which fits in the palm of users’ hands. Its ability to fly autonomously will provide new possibilities for users seeking to capture images and videos. It connects directly with smart devices run on iOS or Android via Wi-Fi to upload and share images or videos instantly. With the help of OriginGPS, Zano is able to know exactly where it is in relation to a smart device, even when powered off.
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Gal Jacobi, CEO of OriginGPS, said that “with the help of OriginGPS, Zano can draw on extremely accurate positioning information to provide the advanced controls that will delight its users while maintaining a small and sleek exterior.”
Not only for military use
Zano is the brainchild of Ivan Reedman and his team of engineers at the Torquing Group. Over the past four years, they have worked to reduce the size of UAV devices, without diminishing their capabilities. Initially targeting the defense, industrial and law enforcement markets, the idea for a consumer version of this Nano UAV technology was first raised in October 2013 at the weekly Torquing Group team meeting. The team decided to get this technology out to the consumer and make aerial photography and video capture accessible to anyone with a smartphone.
Talking about the Israeli GPS technology behind Zano, Reece Crowther, head of Sales and Marketing for the Torquing Group said: “To put it simply, Zano would not exist without OriginGPS. The GPS feature of Zano is the heart and soul of the product. Picking OriginGPS to power Zano was a no-brainer.”