Lately I’ve been so focused on mobile, apps, development, conferences, and more that I haven’t posted much besides IBM work news and projects. Well, I’m taking a break for just a moment…
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, then you already know that I’m pretty much obsessed with “drones”. It is by far the most fun and exciting recreation that I’ve taken up in a very long time. Not only are they fun to fly, but they get you into some amazing views that were previously inacessible, and have applications far beyond just taking pictures. I’ve written how-tos for aerial photography and videography, taken tons of pictures for fun, and even shot some indoor footage for TV commercials.
I’m always following the news feeds, watching the advances in technology, watching prices drop, and am continually blown away by what the industry is offering. The last week to ten days have been nothing short of amazing.
The Phantom 3 is an easy to fly copter that sports a 3-axis gimbal (camera stabilizer), up to 4K video footage, an integrated rectilinear (flat) lens camera, live HD first-person view, integrated iOS and Android apps, a vision positioning system (for stabilized indoor flights) and up to a 1.2 mile flight range. All for a cost of under $1300 USD. That’s one heck of a package, and officially makes my old Phantom look like a dinosaur.
The Solo also has a 3-axis gimbal for stabilized footage, and is designed to work with GoPro cameras. In fact, it is the only copter that integrates with the camera controller and can control the GoPro remotely. The Solo also has dual processors (one in the controller, one in the copter), HD first person view, and has an upgradeable system that can have new camera systems or payloads configured. It doesn’t have an optical stabilization system built in, but that can be added to the expansion bay. What really sets the Solo apart is the intelligent auto-pilot sytem that appears to make complex shots very easy. All of this with a price tag starting at $1000 USD.
I currently own DJI products, but this has gotten me seriously considering a purchase.
Both of these are small aircraft targeting consumers, but from the look of it they are definitely capable of high end applications. Their small size make them extremely portable, and a potential add in many industries and use cases. Larger copters are always available for larger scale applications.
Meanwhile, people everywhere still freak out over drones as a political debate, ignoring their utility and positive value. The rules for commercial use continue to shake out, but oh man, it’s an exciting time.