Imaging Robots/Drones

Up & Go aerial camera leaves your hand, comes back to land

Using an aerial camera to take photos can be a lot of fun. But having to chase one around to make sure that it goes where the user wants is not.

Up & Go is a lightweight flying camera that takes off from and lands in the user’s hands. At the click of a button on its companion, wearable (and waterproof) tracking device, Up & Go starts shooting and following the user. It shoots 1080p HD video and takes 12-megapixel still images. Up & Go ships in October at $499. But Indiegogo backers can order one for $299. Its maker is hoping to raise $50,000 by July 24.

There have been several other aerial cameras and drones designed to record action sports activities, including Onago, so this is hardly a new idea. Unlike at least some other aerial cameras, Up & Go features interchangeable batteries that are compact and easy to insert. It’s also apparently tougher than at least a few  rival products because it features a carbon fiber frame. The wearable tracker is another nice touch.


Imaging Robots/Drones

Forget boring 2-in-1s: the DRONOID 3-in-1 drone is where it’s at

Playing with technology is a fantastic way to encourage kids to learn. Most of the time, though, these educational opportunities keep children indoors, marring otherwise positive development within the confines of a small classroom.

No one said the wonders of technology and the great outdoors are mutually exclusive. In fact, the team behind the DRONOID modular drone is trying to make the case with its newest creation. The modular drone can be converted into three separate vehicles: a rover with large wheels to quickly cover distance, a tread-equipped tank that can cover all kinds of difficult terrain and, of course, a flying drone to take awesome photos with using an optional HD camera attachment.


The Gravitron v2 lets you experience drone races at 50 mph

The sport of first-person view drone racing is growing, and growing quickly. With it, the demand for faster, lighter, and more durable drones that can outpace the competition.

The Gravitron v2 is the second iteration of the original, and its specs show. This time, 3k Japanese carbon fiber — some of the strongest and lightest — is joined by powerful 2300kv brushless motors alongside a lithium ion battery that gives the Gravitron a top speed of 50mph for anywhere between five to eight minutes. And with that blazing speed, all pilots are bound to crash their Gravitron in some brutal ways.

Connected Objects Imaging

The PowerUp FPV is the greatest flight simulation ever played with a paper airplane

No one asked for a smartphone controlled paper airplane, but that’s exactly what was delivered when inventor Shai Goitein created the original PowerUp 3.0 module and shepherded it to Kickstarter success.

Now, he’s back with the PowerUp FPV, an upgrade to the original that adds live streaming capabilities through an onboard, rotating camera that records up to 30 frames per second. A head-mounted display is packaged with the PowerUp FPV, letting users enjoy a first-person view on the high-flying action by tilting the smartphone used inside. Or, if that’s too dizzying, users have the option to use a smartphone as a manual gamepad or just enable PowerUp FPV’s full auto-pilot mode.’


Backerjack Podcast #23: Collapsible Drones and Medication Minders

In Episode 23 of the Backerjack Podcast, Steve and Ross check out some of the latest products seeking funds and preorders, including:

  • Lumma, a pill sorting and dispensing device that reminds people to take their meds and alerts if they don’t.
  • Photokite Phi, a soft drone that runs on a tether for easier control and folds up into a tube for easy portability.

We also mentioned a few other products we wished we had more time for, including the Passfort password entry accessory and the OrbMi home messaging device.

Download the episode or listen below, subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and subscribe to the Backerjack Daily Digest to make sure you catch all the gadgets we’re covering. Also check out Steve’s great work on Apple World Today!

Connected Objects

Pocket Drone springs skyward from your pants

PocketDroneMae West never inquired as to whether a gentleman admirer had a drone in his pocket. But anyone of her time would be happy to see this multicopter with a footprint smaller than that of an iPad. The Pocket Drone is not only small but mighty, powerful enough to hoist aloft a video camera to capture some impressive videos shown off by the campaign page. According to the project creators, though, the power won’t come at the price of complexity as they note they’ve been through “dozens of iterations to create the perfect drone product that can be used by everyone.” Those wanting to test that claim will need to pledge just under $500 and wait until June 2014, at which point they can command their drone to “go up and see me sometime.”


Connected Objects

PowerUp 3.0 turns your smartphone into a paper airplane pilot

The Premise. Paper airplanes are great fun, but no matter how good you are at folding them, there’s only so far they’ll go. Furthermore, it can take a great deal of effort and practice to control them with any degree of accuracy.

The Product. PowerUp 3.0 is a battery-powered, lightweight transceiver, control module, propeller, and rudder mounted on a carbon fiber frame designed to resist crash damage. The idea is to clip it to your paper plane (you provide the paper and mad folding skillz) and let it soar around as you control it with the iOS or Android app. The lithium polymer battery charges via micro USB connector, just like a phone. PowerUp 3.0 uses low-power Bluetooth wireless technology, enabling control from up to about half a football field away.

The Pitch. PowerUp 3.0’s campaign is worthy of such a fun product. The humorous pitch video explains how the PowerUp 3.0 came about as the result of a challenge to build upon Shai Goitein’s earlier experiments with propellers for paper airplanes. The 3.0 version of the paper airplane module makes things “magicaler” and Shai needs 50,000 of your “magic beans” to bring it to market. The campaign page also goes into more depth on the device’s specifications. shows some impressive raw flight footage, presents a closeup of the iPhone control app and highlights some inspired suggestions for paper airplane designs. The enticing stretch goals include an Android client at $150,000 raised, the ability to control two modules on one plane from a smartphone at $800,000 raised, the ability to have dogfights via proximity sensing at $1 million raised, and plane-mounted video capture at $2 million raised.

The Perks. While even $5 an actual paper airplane signed by the designer. At $30 and up, backers get a PowerUp 3.0 control module due in May 2014. Bonuses include an extra battery pack, extra control module, wall adapter, pilot hat, even a personalized flight jacket as the donation levels climb.

The Potential. Paper airplanes are the great toy equalizer, easy and accessible at their most basic, and this looks like a fun (and still affordable) way to extend the idea. The PowerUp 3.0 fits nicely between the paper airplane alone and model planes that need lots more talent or energy to build, or lots more money to buy. It’s also a great way to get a kid interested in model planes, but let’s be real. This is for the kid or the geek in all of us.