Editor’s note: Zano has announced bankruptcy. The project seemed promising and made us all hope Torquing Group could achieve what they promised to their backers on Kickstarter. We hope this unfortunate development does not affect your love for technology and that you will continue to enjoy the ideas of crowdfunding campaigns.
Many of us may have heard about Zano, the “Selfie-Drone”. The device was developed by the UK-based Torquing Group, reached its crowd funding goal of £125,000 in just 3 days and then went literally through the roof finishing at £2,335,119. The first of these stunning little unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will be shipped in June this year and the company has already some other exciting projects in the pipe.
Torquing, originally founded in Australia in 1990 and moving to the UK in 2007, has a solid reputation in technology, robotics, electronics, engineering and programming. While the Zano (technical details at the end of this post) drone is a high-tech consumer electronics piece the company is already targeting military and industrial markets with the Swift, Sparrow and Firecrest projects.
Swift, a little drone very similar to Zano weighing only 55 grams and measuring 65 mm from propeller to propeller, is targeted for military and law enforcement missions. The small UAV provide’s an ultra-transportable immediate situational awareness solution. The autonomous operation makes it a perfect solution for navigating through congested, cluttered and contested environments. Swift has the ability to lay dormant and only become active when it detects movement in the vicinity, making it an ideal solution to be deployed as a perimeter beacon or surveillance device. The small drone can be equipped either with a 5 megapixel OmniVision camera or a FLIR Thermal Imaging camera and is compatible with facial recognition software. The device will be available in the first half of 2015.
Sparrow is an entirely autonomous developable UAV platform. The project relies on a sophisticated operating system which allows assets to work in cohesion, creating a “swarming effect” and letting the drone complete different tasks without any piloting skills required. In addition, Sparrow is able to carry an additional 200 grams of load which enables the user to add features and equipment. The device is targeted at military, law enforcement, civilian or industrial applications; the release date is not fixed yet.
Torquing Group’s next, still secret project, the Firecrest, will be targeted solely at military applications. The company has not yet released any further information.
Zano stood out when it was first announced, due to the extraordinary autonomous flying functionality and the small size. The “sophisticated nano aerial photo and video capture platform” uses a lot of sensors including infrared technology, GPS, and sonar to minimise drift and to hold its position.
The small drone is connected to your smartphone via tethering and will follow you at an adjustable distance. Equipped with a 5 megapixel HD camera, 32bit 330DMIPS processor and 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz WIFI connectivity the the drone films stunning aerial videos. In order to make the clips look even better the footage can be uploaded to Torquing’s high-performance computer (HPC) to post-process the videos with special software.
Another really great feature is the mesh-network which can be set up between different Zanos; in combination with the self-flying capabilities this means that they can behave like a swarm. The leading Zano drone can control the others and you are enabled to give each drone a role. e.g the angle and position from which it films the targeted object.
You can pre-order Zano here.
Featured Image: Zano