Photokite Phi is a drone that’s kept on a tight leash

Lots of people are excited about the potential of drones for package delivery ad other lofty tasks, but today one of the key applications is fancy camera work. Don’t be fooled. It takes a lot of work and expertise to make an autonomously one-shot music video masterpiece.

Indeed, the hardest part of drones is not getting them in the air but controlling them. That’s the inspiration for the Photokite Phi, an action cam-carrying drone that is meant to be tethered. In effect, it is something of a flying selfie stick. This doesn’t mean, though, that the Phi doesn’t have its charms. For one, like a folded kite, it’s relatively portable, folding into a cylindrical case. Its soft propellers minimize the potential danger from even the tethered ride going awry and its leash winds into the body of the device. It can also be controlled via wrist gestures.


The company is offering a range of early bird reward tiers that top out at $349 with the expected retail price being $500 with the drones being shipped in March 2016. It hopes to raise $300,000 by September 17th.

Many drones are marketed as easy to operate but having the copter on the leash probably likely goes a long way toward reducing the sphere of control that must be maintained. Those tracking their epic ski runs may find that the leash ruins a bit of the professionally shot illusion, but it’s far thinner than a selfie stick.  There are a wide range of uses for the Photokite for those who want the drone but can’t master it alone.

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