January 10, 2016 weblog
This will be the year of flying cameras from Lily
So you want to be filmed skiing or doing something else that is challenging and shows off your determination if not skills?
Lily has a solution they want to sell and it is a waterproof camera that you throw and go. It lands easily right back in your hand.
The Lily product shoots HD pictures and videos. One of its promoted advantages is that "It lets anyone create cinematic footage previously reserved for professional filmmakers."
This is an autonomously steered flying camera. "We built a camera that has the form factor of a flying robot," said Antoine Balaresque, CEO, in a TechCrunch interview.
Noah Kulwin of Re/code described it as an HD-capable waterproof quadrocopter which follows the user, carrying a tracking tool, where the user goes. It can capture video in slow motion and record audio through the tracking tool, he said.
How it works: The Lily Camera tracks the tracking device and uses computer vision to optically follow your features.
The camera offers 20 minutes of flight time, is on pre-order, and its makers plan to ship this year.
(The 20 minutes' number is at an average speed of 15mph. The flight time will vary between 18 minutes and 22 minutes, said the team, depending on how you use it.)
What you get in a box: A Lily Camera, a tracking device (with a wrist waterproof case), a brick charger (two-hour charge time), a micro USB cable and a user manual. A lithium ion battery is built-in. The tracker has 4-hour battery life.
Sarah Buhr of TechCrunch also talked about it: She thought the flying bot was "pretty cute" with its rounded style and blue LED lights. "Lily acts as a robot videographer, automatically following you anywhere. It starts recording videos as soon as you toss it into the air..."
A 4GB micro SD is provided. The device is black polycarbonate with brushed aluminium; the weight is listed as 2.8 pounds.
In the mix are accelerometer, three axis gyro; magnetometer; barometer; GPS front-facing camera; bottom-facing camera.
The launch is not new; they launched this back in May with their pre-sale campaign. What has been in focus this month has more to do with their success, as tech watchers learned that the company achieved $34 million in pre-orders by the end of 2015.
Kulwin noted how "eight months ago it publicly launched and began taking preorders. In an interview with Re/code, Lily CEO Antoine Balaresque said the company has now booked $34 million in sales since that launch."
Does the Lily Camera have obstacle avoidance?
"Currently, the Lily Camera does not have any obstacle avoidance capabilities," said the company's FAQ page and "there are no guarantees that your Lily Camera will not hit anything while it is following you." There is, however, a middle button on the tracking device. If the camera is about to hit an object, you press that button and Lily will stop, hold its position, and continue to film you.
The camera price in the current stage of pre-orders is $799. When this pre-sale period ends, the cost "will progressively increase," they said, to $999.
Lily started in September 2013 in the basement of a UC Berkeley robotics lab.
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