The Portable, Radical, Change-Everything Drone
BY Alan Perlman19 September 2015
Source: ADVENTURE JOURNAL
By: STEVE CASIMIRO
It fits in a daypack, weighs about a pound, costs the same as a Phantom, and won’t chop your finger off.
Much as the DJI Phantom is changing the landscape of aerial photography, it makes the noise of a flying weed whacker and, with its exposed propellers, sometimes seems about as safe. If a Bay Area startup has its way, though, the new drone experience will be ultra-quiet and idiot proof. Called Snap, from Vantage Robotics, the camera copter consists of just three pieces, all held together with magnets — the camera module and two blade assemblies.
“People are the most interesting subjects for any video, so we wanted to make a flying camera that was actually safe to use around them,”
– says Tobin Fisher, Vantage CEO,
who was inspired to make a safer copter when he was cut by the propeller of another brand’s device.
Unlike most copters, which have exposed blades, Snap’s are covered by spoke-like wires, as well as a plastic frame. You might be able to stick your fingers in if you tried, but, like, don’t.
The unit comes apart quickly, weighs 1.1 pounds, and is small enough to stash in a typical daypack. It promises 4K camera performance on par with the DJI Phantom 3 when it goes into production next spring (the current camera shoots 1080p) and is controlled via smartphone (though Bluetooth gaming controls will work, too). Controllable distance is pretty short, about 100 yards, but it can be programmed to travel nearly a mile and Vantage says a range booster will be available, too. It can also be configured to fly in a certain pattern, such as following or orbiting you.
Pre-order price is about $900, with final retail estimated to be $1,295. Expected delivery is March 2016.