GoPro revolutionized extreme-sports photography by giving everyone the ability to film from a first person perspective, but its main downside was that this was the only angle from which it could film. Now however, a new drone startup called AirDog is planning to change all that, providing surfers, skiers, boarders and others the ability to film their exploits from an aerial perspective.
AirDog opens up professional sport photography to people who would otherwise be unable to afford it.
AirDog has launched a kickstarter project for a sports-inspired drone which can follow a person around and film them as they be extreme. Essentially, it aims to replace the cameraman who would otherwise be filming you, or to put it in more egalitarian terms, it opens up professional sport photography to people who would otherwise be unable to afford it.
While this sounds like a great idea, AirDog has combined several innovative features to make it truly useful in an active, outdoor environment. Firstly, the device is controlled not by a smartphone or tablet like tradition drones, but rather through a waterproof, wrist-mounted controller. This controller enables a sportsperson to actively change the altitude and angle of the filming of the AirDog drone which it follows them during a sport session.
Additionally, the AirDog does not just use motion tracking software in order to follow a person, but can also be pre-programmed using GPS. This allows a user to set a path for the drone to take while it films the user, allow for many more creative filming angles, rather than that which is created by simply following behind the user.
Finally, it comes with useful homing capacities which enable it to be summoned by the user from a distant location at will. This could theoretically allow, for instance, a surfer to wait till they get the perfect wave, and then summon the AirDog to begin filming them as they surf - an ability which is critical for the conservation of drone battery life.
All these innovative features aside, the drone still lacks certain features which would make it as ubiquitous as the GoPro. Primarily, despite its rugged construction, it is not waterproof. This means that using the AirDog to film any of the many extreme sports that involve water, risks ruining the drone forever. Furthermore, the drone currently does not the ability to actively avoid obstacles, though the company promises to add this functionality at a later date.
Currently the drone is available for $995 online. Its Kickstarter campaign will close on the 25th of July.
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