On the DIY Drones blog I spotted a description of the Pocket Drone, a project currently up for funding on Kickstarter. At the time of this post, the project has received pledges for more than 70% of their relatively modest $35k goal.
The world of personal drones may look quite different come June when San Diego based AirDroids plans to ship but at the moment, the Pocket Drone may just be the smallest and cheapest way to get a GoPro airborne. Cheap, in this context, being $500 or so. And small refers to the size of the craft when it is folded up. Even the propellers fold up, and the entire unit seems to fit into a bag the size of an old Texas Instruments calculator. Of course what is not shown in the photo is the transmitter, the Pocket Drone is a real remote control craft, not controlled with a wifi or bluetooth signal from your phone.
Go read the Kickstarter description. It is a nice example of how to put together a funding proposal. I love the reference to 1906-era aerial photography, there is plenty of detail about the spec and the video sports footage that says it is recorded from the unit itself.
With weight being a big issue for flying camera rigs, I suspect we’ll see lightweight GoPro versions this year or models from other manufacturers directed at the personal drone market. These cameras will do away with LCD screens and many of the buttons on the camera body and instead rely on being remote controlled. I saw a reference that each gram of payload requires eight grams of propeller, motor and structural to lift it. As the cameras get smaller so will the drones.