Nixie, the brainchild of Stanford postdoctoral researcher Christoph Kohstall, is a wearable quadcopter drone that flies off your wrist and boomerang’s back to you after capturing an aerial selfie. Designed originally to capture the ultimate action sports shot, Nixie will follow you down a mountain biking trail or hover above while you attempt to conquer a rock climbing nemesis.
With a simple snap of the wrist, Nixie goes from a high-tech wristband to a lightweight (0.1 lbs) quadcopter that knows exactly where its user is at all times. Whether you’re in the middle of an open field or attending a sold out rock concert, a unique identifier brings Nixie back – boomerang style. All you have to do is snatch it out of the air upon its triumphant return.
After winning the $50,000 purse from Intel’s Make it Wearable Challenge in 2014, Kohstall’s team at Nixie hopes to move Nixie past the prototype phase and to market by the end of 2017. With a price estimated at “slightly higher than a GoPro,” Nixie is has a swiveling 1080p camera and four pre-programmed flight modes allowing users to capture amazing aerial shots from all types of angles.
Developers hope to make Nixie the next generation of point-and-shoot cameras. Backed with $50,000 in seed money and a full suite of groundbreaking image recognition technology, Kohstall is close to launching his highly intuitive wearable. “The overall goal is to build a light, portable, and user-friendly drone that could serve as a personal photographer,” Kohstall said during Intel’s annual Wearable Challenge.
Named after the playful water spirit in Germanic mythology, Nixie’s application extends to rock climbing, mountain biking, and other adventure sports. It’s also designed for anyone wanting to capture cool aerial shots in open spaces. Here are Nixie’s four programmable modes:
Boomerang Mode: The drone flies a set distance from its user, takes a photo, and then returns.
Panorama Mode: It drone takes photos to fill a 360-degree arc.
Follow Me Mode: The drone serves as a third person by tracking the user.
Hover Mode: It hovers for use in jib shots and can be controlled from a smartphone.
Capable of capturing crystal clear HD images or video, Nixie syncs with your smartphone via a companion app and uses a powerful Intel Edison chips as its processor. With its aerodynamic, super lightweight design features and its image recognition technology, the wearable industry is eagerly awaiting the Nixie’s market launch in 2017.