May 13, 2015 weblog
Throw-and-go Lily captures actions, to ship February
Lily Robotics, based in Menlo Park, California, on Tuesday unveiled the Lily throw-and-shoot camera. Lily can start following you and record video as soon as you throw it in the air. Its makers say it can shoot "stunning" HD pictures and videos.
The neat feature is that no controller is required. The user can focus on the activity, not the camera, as Lily flies on its own to capture the person's action. Two years ago, the makers of Lily set out to build the device as a personal flying camera. They wanted to see if they could overcome limitations where the picture-taker is bound by his/her own skills and is left out of the image.
"My cofounder and I spent most of our time tinkering with robots while attending college at UC Berkeley," said Antoine Balaresque, cofounder and CEO. "Our passion for personal robotics led us to believe that there is a better way to capture and share the world around us."
Their standalone camera has a video format listed as H.264 codec, .mp4 file format. The Video resolution is 1080p, 60 fps or 720p, 120 fps. Sensors include an accelerometer, three-axis gyro, magnetometer, barometer, GPS and front- and bottom-facing cameras..
Lily is waterproof, made with polycarbonate, in black, with brushed aluminium. You can take it one meter underwater and it will perform as expected but they said they did not recommend you to "spin the motors underwater. Lily is not a submarine." Its weight is 2.8 pounds (1.3 kg). There is a built-in Lithium-Ion battery. They had to strip away the ability to remove the battery pack to make the camera waterproof. You get 20 minutes of flight time. Expect two hours of charge time.
The maximum altitude above the head is 50 ft. The minimum is 5 ft. The maximum distance from the user is 100 ft. The minimum distance from the user is 5 ft. The maximum speed is 25 mph.
There's a companion app for Lily (iOS or Android) where you can change camera settings, make custom shots, edit content and share.
The Lily Camera will begin shipping in February. They are accepting pre-orders at $499 until June 15. They said the price will then progressively increase up to the regular retail price of $999. What one gets with the order: the Lily Camera, tracking device with wrist waterproof case, brick charger, micro USB cable, and user manual. The tracking device has a microphone that records sound. Lily synchronizes audio from the tracking device with the video.
Kyle Russell of TechCrunch summed up the special place a flying camera such as Lily can command, as a special enabler for selfies. "As the technology that lets professional drones capture beautiful shots from algorithmically-determined angles trickles down to more reasonably-priced consumer gadgets, it's not hard to envision a family buying a drone to capture photos and video at gatherings so no one has to be left out by holding the camera. That's the market Lily is going after, and it's building a family-friendly gadget and brand to reach them. Its logo resembles a smiling emoji, and that same logo on the drone itself gives them impression that the little hovering pod is happy to be with you."
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