November 5, 2014 weblog
Intel contest prize goes to wearable camera that can fly
A wristband that can be set free to become a selfie-taking, camera-equipped drone has won $500,000 in Intel's Make It Wearable competition. The prize money is intended to help the competition winners bring their prototype to market.
The Nixie team founder is Christoph Kohstall, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University. The team engineered a tiny drone with built-in camera, designed as a wearable with bands that attach it to the wrist. When the user gestures, the Nixie flies off, snaps a photo from the air, and returns—in boomerang mode—to the wrist and syncs with the owner's smartphone. Nixie is also designed for a panorama mode for 360-degree arcs, a follow mode for the owner in motion, and hover mode. Jelena Jovanoic, COO and project manager, Team Nixie, said Kohstall, who has a PhD in experimental physics, told her at the outset that he wanted to make a quadcopter wearable, a flying wristband. He said, "You should be able to tell, with a gesture, the quadcopter to unfold and take off...It knows where you are, turns around, takes a picture of you, comes back. You can catch it from the air, and put it back on your wrist."
He noted the prototype was prepared with an Intel chip. All of the entries in the competition used Intel's Edison platform, reported Damon Poeter of PCMag. Edison refers to the tiny chip for wearable devices.
Second place in this competition went to Open Bionics, a low-cost robotic prosthetic hand. They use low-cost, high efficiency 3-D printing and scanning to bring customized products to amputees. Third place went to ProGlove, a "production tool" so that the user can work faster and easier.
Intel said that concepts were reviewed and judged in five waves on the basis of inventiveness and on the potential to positively impact the world.
The Nixie is still in development. Jovanoic said in a Fox Business interview that "We are going fast." Katie Collins of WIRED.co.uk said, The drone was "aimed primarily at rock climbers and other adventure sport enthusiasts." Prize money, she said, will go toward improving propellers, navigation and miniaturization.
Reuters quoted CEO Brian Krzanich at the award event earlier this week. "This was an experiment to see what we could do in this space," he said, "and see what kind of creativity we could spawn."
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