A Kickstarter project wants to take the art of the selfie to a higher level — literally. ZANO, by the Wales-based Torquing Group Ltd, is a palm-sized drone that will fly out from users at up to 25 mph, take stabilized 720p video at 60 fps, and send it all back, as well as any pictures snapped, to the pilots’ smartphone app. Its creators even boast that the final product will respond to gesture commands, making dronies easier to take than ever.
The campaign has already raised $600,000 from more than 2,000 backers, well over its $200,000 campaign goal, and there are still 37 days left to go. For around $220, backers can lock in an early purchase of the ZANO, complete with a carrying case, charging devices, and software updates for a full year after the public launch. The funding and the interest for ZANO are encouraging, but there’s a quite a few technical hurdles to overcome before the adorable prototypes are transformed into a useful tool.
As documented here, those challenges include: adding in a removable SD memory card, building the apps, finishing the aerial avoidance software, and checking with regulators like the U.K.’s Civil Aviation Authority to make sure the ZANO isn’t outside the law. Assuming all that works out, and that the ZANO retains its price point, it will enter the commercial drone market in the moderate-to-low price range for consumer drones.
When they are finally available for commercial purchase, they might find a niche market in South Korea. Seoul recently set fines for the use of unauthorized Bluetooth-enabled “selfie sticks.”