This one, though, jumped out of our crowded mailbox and has caught the imagination of all self-respecting internet and Twittersphere gadget lovers.
It’s one of those drones, but with a twist.
This doesn’t need you to control it whilst constantly worrying if you’ll crash it into a neighbours’ garden. No, this thing follows you, filming your adventures from on high wherever you go. Called Lily, this doe-eyed drone follows you on your biking / skiing / skating / running / canoing trips.
Despite us sending around a suitcase full of money (from our Monopoly set) and a huge amount of requests, there’s no demo or PR kits available. We are, like many of you, eagerly anticipating the launch of this particular gadget because… well, watch this…
Stop. Stop throwing your money at the screen. There’s a couple of gotchas first. Lily does not have obstacle avoidance as yet. It’ll blindly follow you, so if you got under some trees, near to buildings or next to some power lines you’ve really got only yourself to blame when it smashes down onto the floor.
Provided you’re out in the open, you just throw it up and off you go. It’s waterproof, films in full HD, travels at up to 25mph (perhaps not quite fast enough for road cyclists) and follows a tracking device (below) which you can wear on your wrist. You can also program and control the device further with the aid of a smartphone app. As with the collision detection, there’s another minor down point, and that’s the 20 minute flight time.
That said, battery technology is something we all know is pretty rubbish anyway. Pricing will be $499 (around £319) for pre-sales (from now until June 15th) and a recommended retail of $999 (£639). The devices will ship in February next year.
Full press release below.
(Menlo Park, CA) Lily, a company pioneering easy-to-use, self-flying cameras, today debuted the Lily Camera, the world’s first throw-and-shoot that flies itself. Initiated with a simple throw in the air, the Lily Camera automatically follows its owner, capturing stunning footage and high definition images while hovering in place or flying at speeds up to 25 mph. The camera, completely engineered for tough aerial and water environments, is built for outdoor action sports enthusiasts and for anyone who just wants a simple, fun way to record and share their everyday activities. Leveraging advanced computer vision algorithms and GPS, the Lily Camera intelligently tracks its owner, following every move. With autonomous flight, Lily expands creative shooting opportunities well beyond handheld and action cameras with a single point-of-view.
Now totally free from having to hold or maneuver a camera, the Lily owner can be featured and included in all shots from casual outdoor activities to travel, snow, surf, golf, hiking, boating, and family adventures.
“Point-and-shoot devices, action cameras, camcorders, and DSLRs have served us well on the ground and attached to drones, but we’ve always wanted a richer, more contextual point-of-view,” said Antoine Balaresque, CEO and co-founder of Lily. “Lily automatically creates exciting close range photos and wide, cinematic shots previously reserved for professional filmmakers.”
Throw it in air to start shooting
Flies itself, no controller required
Sleek design, fits in backpack, 2.8 lbs
Photos: 12 MP, Video: 1080p/60fps & 720p/120fps
Sony IMX117 1/2.3’’ image sensor
Programmable flight paths via mobile app
20 minutes flight time
Optimal flying: Outdoors 10-30 ft, up to 25 mph
Audio recording from tracking device
Complies with FAA guidelines
AUTONOMOUS FLIGHT POWERED BY COMPUTER VISION
The Lily Camera’s core technology is driven by proprietary computer vision algorithms. Lily constantly communicates with the owner’s tracking device which relays position, distance, and speed back to the built-in camera. Lily recognizes the owner and improves tracking accuracy over time. This technology enables Lily to fly completely autonomously, always keeping its owner in the shot and delivering smooth footage. Lily is also programmable and can receive directions via the tracking device or the mobile app. The camera is able to follow, loop, zoom, fly out, hover, and more.
PURPOSE-BUILT FLYING CAMERA
Fully waterproof with a compact design, the Lily Camera is hardy enough to withstand challenging winds and water. “Home base” to Lily is the owner’s hand. Via the tracking device, the owner summons Lily to make a graceful palm landing. That same tracking device also enables audio recording which is automatically synchronized with the camera’s footage, an option not offered on drones that carry a separate camera.