Drones are some of the most awesome gadgets one could own. They are fun to play around with, but they can also allow you to capture high-resolution video and create awesome movies like the ones found on TravelByDrone. Of course, some advanced models can be expensive, but you can still pick up “dumber” models for less.
If you’re interested in drones, you can see a few examples of the full range of drones you can pick up right now in our list of the most affordable models. A list which will soon have two new names added to it: the HEXO+ and the AirDog, both of which are now Kickstarter projects, but by the looks of things, they will become very popular.
AirDog: The perfect companion for action sports
AirDog is a Kickstarter project which hopes to add an extra dimension to extreme sports. The device is an autonomous drone which is capable of following its owner around and capture amazing videos from any angle. AirDog was developed with action sports in mind, being designed for speed and stability, it can track the user, hover and catch all the action on its integrated GoPro camera. Here’s a quick look at AirDog’s specs:
- weather resistant
- 10-20 minutes flight time (depending on flight speed)
- Interchangeable 14.8 V, 4000mAh, LiPo batteries
- Wind resistance up to 28 knots (14 m/s)
- Top speed, 40 mph (software limited)
- AirLeash range up to 1000 feet (300m)
- Operational ceiling, 3000 meters above sea level
- Weight 3.08 lbs (1.4 kg). 3.96 lbs (1.8 kg) with battery
The way the device works is by following the signal sent by a transmitter which the user will strap on his arm or helmet. This AirLeash, as its called, is the key to making the AirDog work, and it is also the way you monitor the drone. Lift-off and landing is done autonomously by the drone, as well as battery monitoring, When AirDog notices the battery running low, it will send a signal to the AirLeash, letting the user know that it has returned to either the end of the track or to the lift-off point.
The camera is also controlled by the drone. Thanks to its talented developers, AirDog runs flight algorithms and focuses the camera perfectly while the user jumps, rolls and makes killer moves. The drone can also be remotely controlled or monitored via its dedicated smartphone app.
The AirLeash offers users not one, but 6 follow modes, each having a different set of instructions:
- Auto-follow – As the name suggests, the AirDog will follow the user and maintain a pre-set altitude and distance
- Relative position – This mode allows the user to set an angle and a height relative to magnet north, thus filming the user from a single angle
- Follow track – The user makes the tour of the track with the AirLeash and then uses the Android or iOS app to customize the trajectory of the drone
- Hover and Aim – AirDog hovers in a fixed position but always directs the camera towards the AirLeash
- Circle – Using the app, the user sets a perimeter and the drone will fly circles at the same altitude and focus the camera on the user
- Look down – Directing the drone to hover over a specific point (a ramp for example) and point the camera directly down
The team promised that they will update the device with more operating modes, but between these 6 and the manual mode, you’ll surely have a lot to explore with AirDog. If you’re interested in AirDog, head over to their Kickstarter page or their website and make pledge (stating amount is a hefty $995).
HEXO+: Smart, fast and autonomous
In the few days the HEXO+ has been on Kickstarter, the project has managed to reach its goal and surpass it. The company has received just shy of half a million bucks, which makes it obvious that their project will be a smash hit. Similar to AirDog, the HEXO+ is an autonomous drone which was designed to gather stunning aerial footage of action sports. The HEXO+ performs great in all environments, thanks to its carefully tuned specifications:
- Dimensions: 62 x 52 x 12 cm – 24 x 20 x 5 inches
- Weight: 980 g
- Range: up to 50 meters
- Hexacopter design with 30 degree tilt propellers
- Speed: up to 70 km/h
- Battery autonomy: 15 min with 3S battery, gimbal and GoPro attached
The HEXO+ uses a GoPro Hero3+ camera to shoot HD video, but the magic happens when it calculates the perfect angles for the best outcome. The user is completely free of having to deal with any flight calculations, as he only needs to use the dedicated Android or iOS app to tell the drone what to keep its eyes on. Using a 3D interface, you can set the exact point the drone will focus on and the distance it should keep. As soon as you finish, the drone will autonomously take-off and follow your smartphone. Using the app, you can also set up more complex flight patterns if you choose to.
If you really love the idea of the HEXO+, you can head over to their Kickstarter page and pledge $499 for a HEXO+ (GoPro camera not included), or if you want to build your own HEXO+, you can pledge $299 and receive all the 3D files so you can print the device yourself, the flight controller, smartphone app and parts list.