Anyone who engages in social media is likely to be thoroughly familiar with the phenomenon of selfies. The proliferation of smartphones has allowed us to easily capture fun and flattering images of ourselves with the simple click of a button. These images can be uploaded from our devices as profile pictures on various social media platforms, or just shared with friends and followers. Over the years, the art of selfie-taking has evolved along with smartphone technology. Front-facing cameras, photo-filtering apps, and selfie sticks have led to new effects and angles, letting us capture and manipulate images in ways we had never before imagined. Considering the widespread popularity of selfies, it is unsurprising that eventually drones would also get in on the selfie-taking action. Nowadays there are even drones on the market specifically designed for taking selfies, with features that make it easier and more fun than ever. As smartphones grow ever more complex and user-friendly, so do the drones associated with them, including the ones we use to take selfies. The AirSelfie was released in 2017, after a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign raised over $600,000 for its development. A compact quadcopter, this photo-taking drone is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, making it easy to slip into a pocket or purse. It comes with a special phone cover (compatible with iPhone 6/6 Plus, iPhone 7/7 Plus, and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Huawei P9, Google Pixel) for storage and charging. The compact drone is controlled from your smartphone or other compatible device via a free app (available for iOS and Android) and can be easily piloted with various control modes. Its lightweight design (it weighs in at about 2 oz) allows it to hover up to 60 feet over its controlling device and snap photos from a bird’s eye view. It’s a breeze to land the drone when you’re done taking your selfies, or it can be safely plucked from the air with no risk of injury thanks to its innovative turbo fan propellers. Protective bumpers provide added protection from damage. The AirSelfie has a timer delay of up to 10 seconds, giving you time to strike the perfect pose, and it can take multiple shots in one flight. The anti-vibration shock absorber ensures clear, high-quality images, which are easy to upload and share directly to social media via the integrative app. During the past year, selfie drone technology has continued to advance. At CES 2018 in Las Vegas (a conference described as “the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace,”) the next-generation AirSelfie 2 made its debut. This second-generation model adds even more features and improvements to its original design. Compact drone upgrades include:
- a 12-megapixel camera for full HD photo and video (upgraded from the original model’s 5-megapixel camera)
- increased field of view to 85 degrees
- battery life improved by 50%, increasing flight time up to almost 5 minutes (from a previous maximum of 3)
- upgraded smartphone app for ease of use
- increased memory storage from 4GB to 16GB
- four color choices: silver, black, gold, and rose gold (first-generation model only available in silver)
The AirSelfie2 will be available for purchase in March 2018. At a retail price of $300, it is a bit costly for anyone who is not a dedicated selfie aficionado. Other photo-taking drones are available, but keep in mind that the cutting-edge features offered by the AirSelfie 2 are unlikely to be found on less expensive models. Thanks to compact drone technology, we have more freedom when it comes to capturing images than we ever have before. Perhaps in the near future the sight of hovering selfie drones will become so commonplace we won’t even notice them any more. Only time, and the market, will tell.