Zurich, Switzerland — Perspective Robotics AG, the Zurich-based robotics company, today unveils Fotokite Phi, their first consumer offering first affordable, accessible tethered flying camera. The Fotokite Phi is available now for pre-order on Indiegogo for $249 USD .
Inspired by drone operators during the Russian protests in 2011, Sergei Lupashin set out to make a drone that is safe and easy to use. The result is the Fotokite, a tethered quadcopter, providing a more user-friendly quadcopter with a unique take on safety for both the operator and the people nearby. The Fotokite Phi is based on the same technology that CEO Sergei Lupashin demo’ed on the TED stage in 2014, which is also currently being used by major news outlets such as the BBC for their broadcast coverage and special programming.
“One of the most common requests we get is to release a consumer-friendly Fotokite – something affordable for folks who want to use one for photography, a hobby or just fun.
Early on, we made a conscious decision to build high-end tools before developing a consumer product. We’ve learned a lot by working with broadcasters and TV crews to make the Fotokite Pro and are excited now to unveil our first offering with the consumer in mind,” said Lupashin.
He added, “Thanks to the tether, we’ve been able to considerably reduce the cost of manufacturing the Phi without having to compromise on quality. With its physical connection to users, the Fotokite always knows where you are and stays in place as you move. Between the leash and the camera at the bottom, it’s a cross between an airborne pet and a steadicam in the sky.”
Key benefits include:
Instant launch, intuitive gesture control
Fotokite is the only drone on the market that doesn’t rely on remote piloting or GPS, making for a simpler, more intuitive user experience. To launch the Fotokite Phi, the user simply points it in the direction they want it to go and gives the device a short shake. The onboard GoPro is powered by the Phi and automatically turns on when flying. The Fotokite’s core algorithms, which were developed by Lupashin during his PhD work at the Flying Machine Arena at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, and are protected by a patent application, enable the device to fly itself on the end of the tether, controlled by simple gestures, with no need for a remote control or GPS.
Foldable and portable
The Fotokite Phi easily fits into a backpack or suitcase. It weighs 12 ounces, including the GoPro 3/3+/4 camera and battery, and is the lightest GoPro-carrying quadcopter on the market. The Fotokite Phi folds into a compact carrying case (about the size of a two liter soda bottle) and can easily fit in a backpack or suitcase for people traveling with it. The Fotokite Phi comes with a 26 foot leash included and a removable battery that charges directly through a USB port.
Safer for users and the people around them
If the Fotokite Phi detaches from the tether, the device is programmed to detect a lack of tension and float slowly to the ground, instead of flying away. In addition, the Fotokite’s soft propellers are safe to the touch.
Fully accountable and legal to use
The tether makes it clear to bystanders who’s controlling the device, allowing for accountable aerial photography. To this end, Fotokite has secured special exemptions in Switzerland and France to be flown near crowds. Fotokite is currently working towards acquiring the same permission from the FAA in the US.
About Perspective Robotics AG
Perspective Robotics creates cutting-edge technological tools to enable new forms of visual storytelling. Founded by Sergei Lupashin in 2014, Perspective Robotics is a small, international, energetic team of roboticists, combining top-notch systems engineering with intuitive user interaction to bring an accessible, safe and legal product to the market.