Drones are a godsend for photographers, both professional and amateur. Today we have a vast range of sophisticated 4K camera drones like DJI Inspire 1 that can redefine the way aerial shots are filmed. And then there are the ultimate, extreme adventure hobbyists’ fantasies like Zano, a miniature, autonomous Sky Selfie quadcopter.
For starters, a ‘Sky Selfie’ or a ‘Dronie’ is a self-photograph that you can take without having to stretch your camera-holding arm out or having to use a Selfie Stick which could have you prosecuted in some exotic destinations owing to the fact that it needs telecommunication gadget registration since it uses Bluetooth. Sky Selfies are popular among adventure sports freaks, hikers and mountaineers who want to capture the moments of adrenaline rush right from the sky, making it look like it was filmed from a helicopter.
Now that everyone knows that drone cams are behind aerial shots in the movies, fanatics of extreme selfies and even lovers of in-action selfies want to make their self-clicks look like a scene from an action flick.
Now Zano is an ingenious little gadget that aims to simplify all that is complicated in high-end drones, while simultaneously giving enthusiasts a great way to film life’s defining moments. Zano is a mini-drone that is tailor-made to work like a personal photo assistant to accompany you on your solitary trips to cliffs and canyons. It practically flies itself so you can indulge in sharing photos and videos or just enjoying the scenery while it stays in the air clicking photos of you and that’ll just take a single command from your smartphone. Optimized for both snapshots and quick footage recording, the flying micro-copter weighs just about 55 grams. Dimensions are 2.5 inches x 2.5 inches and it is mounted with a 5 Megapixel HD camera. There’s a digital microphone and it flaunts a very utile mechanism dubbed as optical image stabilization that helps when you want to film your moves on a skateboard ramp or bowl or have a camera tracking your mountain bike as you ride along a steep hairpin curve.
Torquing Group is the creator of the ambitious Zano model, which is now being promoted on Kickstarter. The project is very close to obtaining 4 times the initial pledge target of £125,000 and still has 36 days to go before the campaign comes to an end.
The set of exciting features on the Zano mobile app
The Zano has an 802.11 b/g/n WiFi module that can connect with your phone. Since the product is in its nascency, the limited bandwidth available for its connectivity seems to have an impact on the video recording quality which presently stands at 720p. However, images are captured at 1080p and it can record stills at 60 fps which is pretty promising as far as motion capturing is concerned.
The mini-drone is controlled via the label mobile application you can launch on your smartphone.
The mobile app has some handy controls such as Hold Position which makes the device hover in the air right at the spot you choose for it. The Free Flight mode gives the user a lot of freedom from having to control its motions all the way. Another great feature is the gesture control which makes the device follow suit when you tilt your phone or tablet to the right or left, leading it to change direction of camera focus. There’s an altitude meter on the app that has a slide control so you can set Zano to hover at a suitable height and either tilt your phone forwards or backwards in such a way that the lens would cover your position. Zano can also follow you around like the moon. Once you select the Follow Me option, you can go about doing your thing while it maintains the same distance from your phone as was set originally by you at Hold Position stage. This is an amazing functionality that’s almost as if the drone is tied to your body by an invisible rope.
Zano aims to make drone-filming non-blurry and smooth and that is evident in the fact that its itty-bitty chassis embodies a remarkable set of sensors that stabilize its flight.
It uses Infra Red for obstacle avoidance and Echo-booming Sonar for altitude control and a sensor to detect air pressure level. The front display panel uses RGB pixels supporting unlimited color and can work as a flash for low light conditions.
Once you’ve had Zano take enough photos and videos of you, you use the app to instruct it to fly back to you. The drone also has inbuilt intelligence that tells it to return to you or where your smartphone is placed once it senses that the system is losing signal or running out of juice.
Torquing Group says there is a host of other improvements that the design team is working on and the UAC go ahead signal for the commercial use of Zano. The team will be involved in a series of tests next year which is obvious, given the set of innovatory features that they are aspiring to implement with the drone. The app for iOS and Android are also currently on the docket.
Here’s to fun selfies and ussies that wouldn’t need professional help.