Anyone who owns a Roomba knows how life-changing that invention has been, and now one of the innovators behind it has come out with a new toy. Helen Greiner, cofounder of iRobot, the company behind the Roomba, has developed a drone that virtually anyone can fly and use. Greiner's consumer-friendly CyPhy LVL 1 Drone takes pictures, connects to your social media, is as easy to use as a smartphone, and comes with safety measures to quell the usual concerns related to drones. Greiner's current company, CyPhy Works, is now trying to raise money through Kickstarter to bring the CyPhy LVL 1 Drone base model to the masses.
According to its Kickstarter page, the CyPhy LVL 1 Drone is "truly a next-level drone for everyone." What sets the CyPhy LVL 1 Drone apart from other similar devices, the page says, is its unique technological features that make it accessible, safe, and easy to use for everyone.
In the Kickstarter video, Greiner explains:
So far, CyPhy works has been building drones for industrial applications, but we want to bring our drone inventions to everyone at consumer-friendly prices.
Kenneth Sebesta, tech lead for the LVL 1 Drone, adds:
We put our full technological expertise into designing a drone for the consumer that gives professional video quality stability but doesn't require professional knowledge to fly it.
The company is planning to release the base model at $495, which they expect will come out to more than $600 after the retail markup. Their $250,000 goal has already been well surpassed at $405,750 from 722 backers, and there are still 29 days left in the campaign.
If you've always dreamed of owning and flying your own drone, you might just get the chance to very soon. Here's a breakdown of the CyPhy LVL 1 Drone's features, so you can get a head start.
While other multi-rotor drones tilt when they move, the LVL 1's Level-Up technology allows it to fly completely steady, the company says, so you can take perfect pictures and capture stable video footage. However, if you want to fly the drone upside down, sideways, and in loops for a more GoPro-like effect, you can disable Level-Up and connect it to your own hobby transmitter for manual flying.
Perhaps the feature that will make the most difference to consumers is the LVL 1's easy Swipe-to-Fly controls system. The only knowledge you need to fly the drone is how to use a smartphone — it's that easy. You just swipe your finger along the phone's screen to control the direction of the device. Just download the LVL 1 app (for iOS and Android) onto your phone and you're all set.
Instead of waiting until you're done using the drone to upload all your pics, you can do it in real time while it's still in the air. The LVL 1 is compatible with any social media platform — Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. Sharing your photos as soon as they're taken will allow your friends to feel like they're on the same flight as the drone.
With every drone product comes a laundry list of safety concerns. So CyPhy Works has created the LVL 1 with a Geo-Fencing feature that allows you to set up invisible parameters to limit where your drone can fly. Using the app on your phone, just pace off the area and then establish a height minimum and maximum and your drone will only fly within that box of space. This feature is perfect for practicing your drone's loops and flips safely.
The LVL 1 Drone will come with 20 minutes of flight time, onboard image storage, a lightweight body (just 1.75 lbs with the battery), and open source technology so the more technologically advanced can modify and customize it to suit their needs.
Check out the full promo video below.
Images: CyPhy LVL 1 Drone/Kickstarter