Although camera-equipped drones have opened up all sorts of film-making possibilities, trying to simultaneously control the aircraft and
the camera movements can definitely be challenging. That's why Perceptiv Labs developed Shift. It's a system that allows a DJI
or 3D Robotics
quadcopter's motorized camera to automatically keep a tagged subject centered in the frame, letting the user concentrate on flying.
Arizona-based start-up Krossblade is developing a five-passenger "flying car"-type vehicle known as the SkyCruiser
. Among other things, plans call for it to take off and land like a quadcopter, while transitioning to faster, more efficient fixed-wing flight while en route. Will you ever be able to buy one? Well, that's hard to say, but if Krossblade's current Kickstarter campaign is a success, you will
soon be able to buy a functioning miniature prototype known as the SkyProwler.
This week, the US Office of Naval Research released details regarding a demo of its Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR
) conducted last November. The robot, as its name implies, is designed to help human crews fight fires in the close confines of naval vessels. In order to get to those fires quicker, SAFFiR may ultimately receive some help itself from an autonomous drone, that was also part of the demonstration.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd beat Amazon
to the punch this Wednesday, by beginning actual deliveries-by-drone. The three-day, three-city test of the system began in Beijing, with deliveries being made from a single merchant operating through Alibaba's Amazon-like Taobao Marketplace website.
Unsurprisingly, this year's Toy Fair in London saw its fair share of drones
, all being touted as somehow unique. One that had a fairly solid case for that was the X-Voice from Flying Gadgets. As its name suggests, the X-Voice is controlled, in part, with voice commands.
Like the cameras on several other drones, the 4K/30fps unit on DJI's new Inspire 1
is gimbal-mounted. This not only allows users to remotely pan and tilt, but it also automatically keeps the camera level as the quadcopter itself tips back and forth. Now, DJI is planning on offering a handheld mount, which the Inspire 1's camera – gimbal and all – can be mounted on after being removed from the drone.
The 3D printers of today can produce objects that may be quite intricate in shape but, by and large, these objects are still made solely of "dumb" plastic. This may be about to change thanks to the Voxel8, a printer presented at CES that makes it much easier to blend plastic, conductive ink and other electronic components in the same object to manufacture highly customizable devices, such as your very own quadcopter.
It was just this June that we heard about the HEXO+
drones, which were two of the first consumer multicopters to offer a Follow function – that's the ability to track the location of their user, and fly along above them. Since then, models including the Iris+
have come out with the same feature. Now, Chinese/American company Ehang is successfully raising production funds for its Follow-equipped GoPro-toting Ghost Drone. Developed in partnership with Duke University, not only is the quadcopter able to track and film its user, but it's also reportedly easier to fly than its competitors.
and Belgium's Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
are working on drone-based delivery projects that utilize UAVs which take off and land vertically, but that can also tip sideways to transition into fast and efficient fixed-wing flight. If you're thinking that it would be neat to purchase a consumer drone that could do the same thing – combining the hovering capability of a quadcopter with the speed of a "flying wing"-type plane – a new one may soon be available, in the form of the X PlusOne.
The silly season is well and truly upon us again and with it comes the challenge of selecting a suitable gift for tech-loving friends and family. The options are a little overwhelming, but Gizmag's editorial team has sifted through 2014's most innovative and, in some cases, odd product offerings in an effort to help.