by Stephanie E. Lee
Drones are pretty neat playthings, but most are just essentially remote controlled helicopter toys. The designers of Fleye wanted to reinvent personal drones and how they interact with their surroundings. Enter Fleye, the personal flying robot built to react and interact with objects and people – a drone for everyday life.
The fleye looks like a flying soccer ball, but one that doesn’t hurt you on contact. It has round, protective sides that gently bounce off of any obstacles, protective grids to keep your digits safe from the spinning turbine inside, and seven different sensors including a gyroscope, accelerometer, and GPS. The HD camera is fixed on top of the device, with the batteries concealed in the same casing. It’s all controlled by a small on-board computer running Linux operating system with a dual-core processor and a 512MB hard drive. The drone can be directed through your smartphone with Wi-Fi.
The design of the Fleye begins to bridge the gap between robots in labs, and robots in everyday life. Fleye is a drone that can fly around safely because all of it’s moving components are safely tucked away behind a soft outer shell and plastic grids. This personal flying robot might only be a toy right now, but it’s design brings robots and drones closer to society. In an impressive display, the Fleye can be pushed around while in flight, stabilize itself, and return right back to where it was originally. It can safely bump and touch and fly into people and objects without faltering, bringing autonomous, flying machines just that much closer to reality. Soon there will be flying robots to do our grocery shopping!
The Fleye also has open API and SDK allowing all users to play around with the programs that control the Fleye, and create their own code to control it. If you’re a software engineer, this is the dream toy. Fleye’s Kickstarter project is still running, so there’s still time to pick up one of these babies before anyone else.
Do you feel as excited as I do about a future with these little personal flying robots zipping around our neighbourhoods picking up the dry cleaning? I’ll be over here daydreaming.