A US$49 personal autonomous micro UAV?
By Ben Coxworth
January 28, 2013
Imagine if you had your own tiny quadrotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that you could control with your voice, that would automatically follow you while avoiding obstacles, and that could shoot and stream video of you using an onboard camera. Now imagine that you paid less than 50 bucks for it. Well, if the hype is to be believed, that’s just what tech firm Always Innovating is promising with its MeCam.
Not be confused with the unrelated MeCam wearable video camera, the MeCam UAV is currently still in development, but reportedly could be commercially available by the beginning of next year. San Francisco-based Always Innovating doesn’t plan on producing the device itself, but is instead looking at licensing the technology to commercial partners.
The UAV is built around an ARM Cortex-A9 processor, features 1 GB of built-in RAM, an SD card slot, and is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled.
Although it’s hard to say what’s actually operational at this point and what’s still conceptual, the idea is that when users wanted to shoot videos of themselves, they could just launch the UAV by hand. It would then hover in front of them, streaming video to a paired iOS or Android mobile device.
If the user wanted it to move, such as going higher or lower, they could get it to do so using voice commands. If they wanted it to follow them as they moved about, it would do so autonomously. In that mode, 14 real-time sensors and two Linux-based auto pilot algorithms would keep crashes to a minimum, while a video stabilizing algorithm would keep its shots smooth. A real-time sound filter would remove the whine of its motors from the recorded video.
The company is suggesting that the UAV would retail for US$49. That’d be nice, but ... we’ll see.
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