Personally, I have never been one for taking selfies. Sometimes it seems like I am the only person who feels that way. In the past couple of years the selfie-stick has been all the rage, enabling people to get better angles and larger backgrounds in their personal shots. Now we have the next stage in the evolution of the selfie: selfies via personal drone, or ‘dronies’.
Say hello to ELF
Meet ELF, the latest product from Shenzhen-based consumer tech company ElecFreaks. ELF is a 3D printed nano drone that fits in your pocket and is capable of taking HD aerial photos and streaming video. Controlled via your smartphone, ELF makes it possible for you to shoot your special moments from spectacular angles.
The accompanying app (ELF 3D) is compatible with both iOS and Android phones, enabling users to connect to ELF via Bluetooth in order to immediately take to the skies – no flying experience is needed. You will be able to upload your photos and share them online before ELF has to touch back down.
There is even a virtual reality (VR), first person viewing function built-in, which incorporates the same type of split-screen technology that is used in high-end VR devices. By employing a simple Google Cardboard type set-up the user can enjoy the same perspective as their ELF nano drone in real time. You can fly the drone whilst viewing in the first person, or relax and enjoy the ride whilst someone else does the flying.
As explained by Co-Founder and Senior Engineer Robi Wang, “We initially set out to build a drone that would be accessible to newcomers and drone-enthusiasts alike. But whether this would be your first drone or your third, we also wanted to bring something new to the table. When we realized we could offer an ultra-realistic flight experience at a price most people could afford, we knew we were onto something special.”
ElecFreaks is currently seeking investor support to help bring ELF to the mass market and reduce the unit price. Their Indiegogo campaign has already smashed the company’s initial fundraising target of US$20,000. Further units and stretch targets are still available for those who are interested. It is estimated that ELF will be ready to be shipped to owners in September.
For those who prefer to take a more hands-on approach, ElecFreaks has made their designs available for download here. The designs are fully hackable, reprogrammable and upgradeable via open source, encouraging developers to employ their skill and imagination to personalise ELF as they choose.
With the demand shown for purchasing units via Indiegogo and the flexibility available for developers to tailor the product to suit their own preferences, it seems that it is only a matter of time before you can expect to see people using ELF to take dronies in a street or park near you.