Please don’t call Lily a “drone”. That’s the pitch from Lily Robotics, maker of an an aerial selfie-camera. Rather than a flying toy for hobbyists, they market it to outdoor sports enthusiasts, as a competitor to the GoPro wearable camera.
Lily is different than other drones, because she has no remote control, manual control or Smartphone app to guide it. Instead, it operates differently…
- It simply follows and films the user. (It can also film from the front or side).
- There is no flight control. Simply throw it into the area (in an open space). The propellers automatically unfold and it begins following a waterproof tracker in a user’s pocket or on his wrist.
- The microphone is not on the drone. Instead, it is located in the tracking device carried by the user. In fact, the tracker has several functions:
- It guides the drone to follow and film the user
- The user can tell Lili take hi-res snapshots
- The user can change video mode: Follow, lead, or fly along side
- The user can recall Lily to land on an outstretched hand
Coolest feature that is not immediately obvious
Lily is waterproof. She can be thrown into a pool or lake. In the crowd funding video below, it films a whitewater kyack adventure both from behind and even from the front.
- Lily has a 20 minute flight time (far more than less expensive, recreational ‘toy’ drones).
- Lily cannot sense trees, buildings, power lines or obstacles. It can be used only in wide open areas. For this reason, it is useful for outdoor open-area sports only, such as skiing, soccer or rafting. It’s a safe bet that the makers will eventually address this shortcoming and introduce a version that can navigate around obstacles and film in tight quarters.
This slick video makes the benefits and fun of Lily very clear
For details and an interesting perspective of the design philosophy, see this interview with an officer of the start up that makes Lily.
Crowd funding started in May 2015. Participants can purchase Lily for $499. The company plans to introduce it in February 2016 for $999.
Website: lily.camera (that’s the full URL: “.camera” is a top level domain)
From time to time, AWildDuck offers previews or reviews of new products and services. Ellery and AWildDuck received no money or consideration for this article—and has had no contact with the company as of the publishing date. We have not tested this product, which had not been released as of the publishing date.