Buy a Small Dragonfly Drone on Indiegogo
In the last couple of years, unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, have become almost ubiquitous. From military bots that do surveillance and targeted killings in Afghanistan and Yemen, to small, brain-controlled helicopters designed as educational tools and toys.
As their use becomes commonplace, the technology behind them becomes more sophisticated. There are already various companies and researchers working on bio-inspired drones like the hummingbird spying drone. Normally, these are expensive projects by defense contractors for military clients. But now a small startup has launched an Indiegogo campaign to produce small, dragonfly-like flying robots for just a couple hundred dollars.
The Dragonfly drone is being developed by TechJect, a spin-off company of Georgia Tech’s Robotics & Intelligent Machines Lab. The project has already received $1 million in funding from the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Through this Indiegogo campaign the company hopes to bring this small drone to consumer houses and offices.
There will be various versions of the Dragonfly, from one that simply flies around controlled from your computer, iPhone or Android smartphone to a more complex and expensive one equipped with Wi-Fi, GPS, two cameras and more powerful motors.
The most impressive feature, however, might be its appearance.
“The Dragonflies are indistinguishable from an insect in the environment,” the developers wrote on the Indiegogo campaign page. “Imagine that level of camouflage guarding your house or keeping a watch on your kids/family; it literally goes unnoticed.”
With its size and its ability to blend in the surrounding environment, the developers expect the Dragonfly to have a wide range of applications: from aerial photography to home or office surveillance — and more. “With up to 20 environmental sensors, cameras and GPS capabilities,” reads the Indiegogo page, “it can be developed to track athletes and outdoor events, or integrated with an App as a fun way to retrace a day of skiing, hiking or whatever you like.” An image on the page suggests you could even use it to play with your cat.
All these applications, however, will depend heavily on the flying time that the battery will be able to achieve. TechJect says they will have 8 to 10 minutes hovering time and 25 to 30 minutes of “hybrid flight time.” Using this hybrid flight mode, the Dragonfly can extend its battery life alternating flapping its wings and gliding like an eagle. “The Dragonfly can switch between each flight mode back and forth,” TechJect told Mashable.
Check out the video above to see the prototype in action and learn more about this impressive micro-drone.
Illustration courtesy of TechJect