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Anyone who grew up in the 80s or 90s remembers a time before branded Lego kits. If you wanted Star Wars ships you had to design them yourself. There weren’t any Indiana Jones or Batman kits, and forget about Lord Of The Rings sets.
Flybrix is a drone kit that takes Lego creations one step further: you can attach drone motors to your designs and fly them! The basic Flybrix kit comes with eight motors and all the specialized Lego-compatible bricks you need to get started. Drones can be flown with a smartphone app or a remote.
These buildable drones aren’t out yet, but according to the website they should ship by Christmas. Time to relive childhood!
Drones can be fun for a while, but sometimes you want one that has a more practical use. Enter the Splash Drone. The drone, its camera gimbal, and its payload carrier are all waterproof, giving this $1,599 machine some interesting possibilities.
Splash Drone’s site says it can carry up to five pounds, allowing it to drop a life preserver or fishing bait and pick up objects that may have floated away. The drone itself also floats, and since its gimbal is waterproof it can see beneath the surface: perfect for spotting lost items or clusters of unsuspecting fish.
Multi-rotor drones have been the standard for consumers, but not any longer. The Parrot Disco is a winged drone with some impressive specs: 45 minutes of flight time, a 1.24 mile range, FPV virtual reality, and a nearly 50 mph top speed.
The Disco is equipped with anti-stall technology to keep it flying, and you can even put it on autopilot to return once you get bored of flying it a mile out. These impressive features don’t come cheap, though: The Parrot Disco costs $1,299.
The AERIUS‘ claim to fame is its size: it’s only three by three centimeters. At $29.99 this tiny drone isn’t suitable for outside flight but it has plenty of other uses: practice flying a bigger machine, annoy your pets, annoy your spouse, or simply fly it in circles for its five to seven minute battery life.
AERIUS only needs 15 minutes to charge, so you can get plenty of play time out of it for a really reasonable price.
There are a lot of reasons to take aerial photos: vacation pictures, action shots, news coverage–sometimes you want simple control and with the Fotokite you get just that.
Fotokite is a GoPro drone on a tether. It is controlled by hand–just like a kite–and can be sent up to 100 feet away. Fotokite advertises its product as great for citizen journalists and hobby photographers.
For those who want a similar, but more powerful product, there’s also a Fotokite pro. The biggest advantage to the pro model is how its tether functions: it’s also a charging cable that gives the drone practically unlimited battery life.
This two-in-one drone is part boat and part quadcopter. The drone itself is tiny and attaches to a boat upon which it can lift up to propel itself forward at speeds up to 10 km/h. Detach it and it can get airborne at speeds up to 18 km/h.
The Parrot Hydrofoil can be piloted with a controller, but the smartphone app has some neat elements: tap to make it do loops, swipe left or right to make it turn 90 degrees, or swipe up or down to make it do a 180.
The downside: The Hydrofoil only has nine minutes of battery life in the air, and only seven in the water.
The Nixie is one of the most unique drone designs out there: it’s wearable. Nixie features a camera capable of taking 1080p HD video, and can be controlled via a smartphone app. It is able to fly out, take a photo, and return, continually hover in place, take panoramas, and follow its user.
Unfortunately, not a lot else is available about Nixie. The team behind it won an Intel competition to receive funding in 2014, and as of writing the drone is still in development. Prototypes look nothing like the initial concept either–here’s hoping it doesn’t vanish.
The PowerEgg folds completely up into an egg shape (obviously) and has a pretty neat control scheme. It uses the PowerEgg Maestro, which its website says is the first gesture-based remote on the market.
The PowerEgg has a flight pause button that will stop it in place, can sense when it gets too close to its operator, and can be configured to stay within a certain radius, all while taking still or video shots.
It can reportedly reach a range of 3.1 miles, but only has 23 minutes of flight time, so that max range might not be sustainable for very long. You can preorder the PowerEgg now for $1,288. According to the website it should ship in 8–10 weeks.
Here’s an oddly shaped drone: it’s essentially a flying thermos, and a rugged one at that. The Sprite is designed for rough activities and tough terrain. There aren’t any arms to snap off, the propellers aren’t rigid, and everything is safely sealed up to keep it dry and protected.
According to its website, the Sprite is “a tool, not a toy.” If you anticipate needing to do some flying photography after a hike or in a potentially hazardous spot the Sprite might be the drone for you. The initial run of Sprites sold out fast, but preorders are available with an expected ship time of 90 days.
This drone doesn’t fly: it’s a boat! Reaching speeds of up to 5.4 knots, the Ziphius has twin turbines, can right itself in case of capsizing, has a positionable camera for above and underwater photography, and can operate at a range of up to 300 feet.
It can operate for about an hour, but there’s one serious drawback: it has to be connected to a WiFi network to operate, so hopefully you have a hotspot on your boat!
The Ziphius is still in preorder status, and neither pricing nor availability data is on its website. Those interested can get on the preorder list, however.