We’re used to seeing quadcopter drones, as this form factor is the one that’s favoured by just about every manufacturer out there. It works well enough, so we have nothing in particular against it, but after finding out about the Sprite, we can see room for improvement. Quadcopter drones are great until they’re forced to land on any surface other than one that’s completely flat; at that point they’re in danger of damage. But the Sprite drone, with its vertically stacked twin counterrotating retractable blades, is able to land on just about any surface. As soon as it touches down the blades retract in half a second, and the rest of the body is able to safely roll out of harm’s way. The body is waterproof so you can land on “rocks, a bush or even a swamp without issues.” And while it’s in the air it

has fully autonomous flight using waypoint navigation and “follow me” modes, along with a built-in 1080p camera (with optional 3rd party FPV) and a 2-axis stabilized gimbal. You’ll also get a GoPro compatible 2-axis gimbal that can be swapped without tools, and control via a smartphone, tablet, or optionally, an R/C transmitter. The current flight time is around 12 minutes with the LiPo batteries, but the makers are striving to improve that before it ships.

The Sprite is not a toy and this is reflected in the price: it’s $799 to get started, with an additional $150 for the R/C transmitter, and another $300 for the First Person View capability.

[ Project Page ] VIA [ Engadget ]