Remember AirSelfie? Start your ‘getting off the ground jokes,’ because the mini-drone camera is now on sale to the general public. The company behind the Kickstarter project is in the process of servicing its initial backers.
The device is designed to allow individuals and groups to take self-portraits from a greater distance than an out-stretched arm or selfie-stick will allow. As it has a very short range (20m/66ft) and limited flying time, AirSelfie is technically not classified as a drone. Thus it stands beyond the legislation and licensing laws that complicate flying larger camera drones – meaning that anyone can use one.
Fitted with a lens with an angle of view (69°) that corresponds with what you’d expect from a 30mm on a 135 body, the camera is capable of capturing far more scenery and the subject’s surroundings from its maximum flying distance from the controller, and the 5MP sensor is good for 1080p HD video at 30fps as well as for stills. A 4GB memory card is built-in to store images, which can be transferred either through the built-in 2.4GHz Wi-Fi to a smartphone or via USB directly to a computer.
The AirSelfie is controlled through a smartphone app that’s available for Apple and Android devices, and a self-timer allows users to put the phone out of sight before the picture is taken. As the device weighs only 61g it could be susceptible to being blown off course outside, but an undercarriage camera is designed to keep it hovering over the same spot while sonar helps to maintain a consistent height. The sonar also informs the device when it is coming into land so that the fans are slowed and switched off automatically – which makes it safer to catch!
The four fans are driven by 7.4v brushless motors and powered by a 260mAh lithium polymer battery. On a full charge users can enjoy up to three minutes of flight, but an accessory power bank can deliver 50% charge in just ten minutes, and a full charge in 40 minutes.
When not in use the AirSelfie can be housed in the back of a charging phone case designed for specific models.
The company says it has used an anti-vibration construction inside the AirSelfie to reduce the impact of the rotating blades on the quality of image that can be created, but it isn’t clear yet what ISO or shutter speed range the device has to help it avoid camera shake.
The gadget seems very well made and is metal casing appears reasonably robust, while the rotor blades are protected from crash damage as they are positioned within the casing. The noise created will be acceptable outside and at parties, but this isn’t the kind of drone that can be deployed to capture a romantic moment in a restaurant without annoying the other guests.
Orders for the AirSelfie will be delivered in May/June and it costs £220/€259 with the phone cover and £229/€269 with the power bank instead. For more information see the AirSelfie website.