not sure if this is a bad idea or a brilliant one, but the more we think about
it, the more it starts to make sense. PhoneDrone, which launched on Kickstarter
earlier this week, is basically an exoskeleton attachment that turns your
smartphone into an autonomous quadcopter drone. When the iPhone was first
announced on stage by an extremely excited Steve Jobs on January 9th, 2007,
many people were perplexed as to what to think of it; was it a phone with a
computer feature or a computer with a phone feature?
PhoneDrone, which was created by Idaho-based drone startup xCraft, aims to
allow your smartphone to become an autonomous aerial camera; integrated flight
planner, tethered controller and more.
While we’ve previously seen drones that can be controlled from your
smartphone via an app, the PhoneDrone actually attaches your phone itself to a
drone. When used with the free
accompanying app, the “smartphone drone” can be told everything as to where to
go, how high to fly, stream video, follow “like a bodyguard while you walk” and
even return to you if the battery is low.
course, few things go as well together as 3D printing and drones and PhoneDrone
creators JD Claridge and Charles Manning have responded to this by not only
selling a pre-manufactured, ready-to-assemble kit, but also a significantly
cheaper DIY kit that features all of the necessary 3D printing files for users
to create their own 3D printed PhoneDrones.
In total, the DIY Kit includes the electronics (motherboard and ESCs),
four motors, hardware, and of course the 3D model files. Claridge and Manning
have designed the parts to fit on a small to average-sized desktop 3D printer
bed; the largest part is 5.8 x 5.8 inches.
for who will find use for the PhoneDrone – whether purchased pre-made or DIY
– Claridge and Manning have found
“literally hundreds of uses” for the unique form of aircraft. Among others, these include a personal aerial
camera for extreme sports and running, a virtual tour device for real estate
agents, a replacement for selfie-sticks, a home-monitoring robot and a
real-time event broadcast streamer.
has already raised over $65,000 in pledges on Kickstarter, and still has well
over a month to reach its $250K funding goal. All the early-bird-backer rewards
have been snagged at this point, but if you back the project now, you can still
get your hands on the base model PhoneDrone for $250. If all goes well, xCraft
expects to finish production and begin shipping sometime around November.