Frustrated because you can’t take awesome pictures of yourself snowboarding? How about filming yourself climbing all the way to the mountaintop? Now, you can fasten a camera to a drone that recognizes you and seamlessly follow your movements from the sky while you’re hiking, surfing or climbing. New Israeli gizmo Percepto essentially removes the cumbersome barrier of trying to manually videotape high-speed activities, including extreme sports.
While drones are usually associated with the military, they are increasingly being used by tech and gadget companies to capture pictures or videos from a bird’s-eye view. Most drones look like a small remote control helicopter that you can fly through the air using a wireless remote or a smartphone.
Percepto, launched a few weeks ago on Indiegogo, is a tiny camera that fastens to almost any drone and uses smart technology to capture enhanced pictures and videos. Automatically factoring in things like sunlight and optimal camera angles, Percepto could potentially surpass the sometimes shaky footage captured on Go Pro cameras. Ultimately, it will be able to film “action shots” just like a Hollywood cameraman!
The idea for this gadget came up while Percepto founder Dor Abuhasira was snowboarding on a recent ski trip with his friends. It’s not every day that folks from sunny Israel get out to hit the slopes, so it was important for them to capture every second. After some brainstorming with Raviv Raz and Sagi Blonder, now his partners in Percepto, Abuhasira came up with the idea to develop a technology for drones that understands and responds to their environment.
Already backed by some prominent investors such as Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics and founder of DIY Drones, Percepto is currently raising funds on Indiegogo, the popular crowd-funding platform, and is aiming to launch its first product by October 2015. Percepto has raised $64,000 in less than three weeks, surpassing the company’s goal of $60,000.
Taking drones to new heights
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For people who are more technically inclined, Percepto is also a mobile platform that can host different applications for capturing footage. For example, its “follow me” function makes the camera lock on to a specific target and automatically follow it while filming. In the future, this platform will be open to all developers, meaning anyone who knows how to build an application can try it out using the Percepto camera. Essentially, Percepto is an open-source drone camera that you can modify with apps; you can add new features to your drone camera almost as easily as downloading apps from an app store.
Percepto units will sell for $400-$600, a fraction of what competitor AirDog charges for its drone camera – $1,295. However, Zano’s portable unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which we covered recently and is also equipped with its own camera, will go for $265.
It’s important to note that Percepto’s environment recognition technology isn’t just for taking cool videos; its potential is big. Think about police forces trying to capture a criminal, using Percepto to follow them. “The real change will be in ways we might not think about today. In more traditional industries like agriculture, search and rescue, and security,” Abuhasira told NoCamels.
Photos and video courtesy of Percepto