— Spy Gear
Spy Hawk RC-plane lets you snoop from the skies
The Spy Hawk's 5 megapixel camera beams video back to the remote-control unit
If you’ve ever found yourself bemoaning the relative dearth of viable personal UAV (or "drone") options but still find the idea of an eye in the sky alluring, then you may well be in luck, because UK-based gadget purveyor RED5 has unveiled the Spy Hawk: a remote-controlled plane which runs from a rechargeable battery and features a video camera to facilitate easy snooping from up above.
The Spy Hawk has a wingspan of 84 cm (33 inches), weighs 180 grams (6.3 oz) and is referred to as a "mini-glider" by RED5. For capturing video footage, there’s a 5 megapixel video camera on-board which beams a first person view, live video feed to a 3.5" LCD screen housed in the remote control transmitter unit. The rubberized remote control also has 4 GB SD card built-in, committing everything the diminutive spy plane sees to memory.
The Spy Hawk even boasts an autopilot which the company state is capable of keeping the plane level with minimal effort, its built-in gyroscope causing automatic flap controls to compensate for errant gusts of wind, and thus allow a budding James Bond to concentrate on the actual spying.
However, though the 600 meter (roughly 2000 ft) range of the plane itself and 400 meter (1,300 ft) video feed range should be sufficient to make your neighbors consider a restraining order, Spy Hawk's espionage capabilities are limited somewhat by a reported 15-20 minutes average fly time from a full charge - a charge which takes around 40 minutes to complete. That said, such a flight time does compare favorably to similar gadgets, like the Swann Sky Eye RC Helicopter, which can only manage around eight minutes of fun before depleting its battery, and the A.R. Drone's 12 minutes of airborne surveillance.
The Spy Hawk is up for pre-order from RED5 now at a price of £250 (around US$388) with an estimated shipping date of early August. Though only UK and EU shipping is cited on the website, quotations for other locations are said to be available on request.
Check out the video below to see a bird's-eye view of the Spy Hawk in action.
About the Author
Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road.
All articles by Adam Williams
I have been using this kind of technology to keep an eye on certain kinds police activity in a small southern Oregon town.
how long is the take off distance and landing distance?,,, yep also in Oregon
Cool as a "toy". Not stable enough to be used for pro video. Didn't appear to get much altitude either.
Seems the camera should be angled more downwards. If flying over something, you are only getting a front view and nothing that is below it. I wouldn't spend that kind of money for this.
Changing a nice toy into a practical tool is a newcomer businessman dream. Here we have a good toy.
If instead of a regular camera we can use sensors for heat and if we can deploy a farm with the unit to guard a farm area at night from intruders, say every hour for each round (rechargeable) flight, then you have a winner. Is this possible within tight budgets? How easy it is to run and keep by security officers?, Can it be used en repeated secuences for a long time, say weeks before is again a unusable toy?
It could be an interesting gadget if used in security matters.
Love to see a version that used two cameras that connected to a pair of VR goggles.
This is nothing new, FPV is a quickly growing industry - in this design the camera is in a vulnerable position, likely to take damage on rough landings. Mounting the camera in the cockpit area is a safer option, and head tracking can also be included to control the camera viewing direction.
1 thing that always irks me about these stories/reports is a lack of information about the noise the spy plane/heli/dirigible makes.
I'm in agreement with all the other comments above on re capabilities but, if a thing is loud it can't effectively spy. And loud is relative too - consider late at night when all is quiet vs mid-day when other ambient noise is in full-effect.
Cool looking glider, decent video, but as the video footage will illustrate, why put a microphone on the thing? All you get is the sound of the motor.
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