As drones become more popular, the conversation has turned to safety. With their multiple rotors, exposed blades and ever increasing weights, there is some danger to them flying around near humans. Not so much with Fleye though. The circular drone was revealed at last week's CES show and using an enclosed impeller, it's far safer for the people around it.
Developed by a Belgium tech company by the same name, Fleye is an attempt to build a next-generation drone that could interact with the human world without posing a risk to us. It uses a single rotor to maintain altitude and fly around, but has four control vanes to improve stability.
Fleye is able to hover and fly around while being controlled manually or automatically. It uses a suite of on board sensors, including accelerometers, gyroscopes and an HD camera, to help it pinpoint its location and can even detect people and keep a safe distance from them.[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShNS-WLGVLo']
If it does get too close, you can just push it away, without fear of hurting it or yourself.
Internally its hardware is pretty impressive too. It sports a dual core ARM A9 CPU, a pair of graphics processors for hardware accelerated video encoding, 512MB of RAM and it all runs on a Linux OS. It's designed to be easily developed for too, so third parties could create exciting uses and functions for the little drone.
Although a portable selfie drone has been one suggested use, Fleye seems like a tool that would be great for paparazzi, or perhaps for covering sporting events without fear of the drone impacting a player. You could just whack a logo or advert on it and have it fly around your next corporate event too. People would be impressed.
Fleye is currently on Kickstarter and has easily blown past its 175,000 euro goal, currently sitting at 292,000. There's a few hours to go, so if you want to pledge for one of these little guys, you can do so on the campaign page. Just bear in mind they aren't cheap. The early bird versions were around 600 euros, but those are almost all gone now. Expect to spend over 700 euros (£525) for one.
The Fleye is expected to begin shipping in September.
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KitGuru Says: These things also look like Navi from Zelda, or the helper orb from Sonic Adventures. Equip it with an annoying high pitched voice and we're good to go.