PlexiDrone, ultra-portable aerial camera system

Robotics startup, DreamQii, has reached initial goals for the Indiegogo-funded PlexiDrone, their innovative aerial camera system. The success of their campaign ensures that the modular flyer will land in the living rooms of first-round backers early in 2015. PlexiDrone differentiates itself from existing drone players by taking the ultra-popular drone craze and making it ultra-portable.

To pull this off, PlexiDrone breaks down into small components and packs away handily in a custom hard shell backpack dubbed the PlexiPack. The PlexiPack keeps the components of a PlexiDrone safe and separated from one another, opening like a magazine to reveal everything at a glance. The pragmatic layout reportedly allows PlexiDrone users to assemble their drone in less than a minute. [image:blog_post:52816]

The modular approach to construction of PlexiDrone has additional benefits as well. The drone’s arms, or PlexiArms as they’re called, can be swapped out in the event of a mishap or to extend flight time beyond traditional limits brought on by overheating. It’s feasible that users looking to shoot all day could have multiple sets of PlexiArms and smart battery packs, meaning that shooting only has to stop long enough to swap out arms and batteries before rolling again. Chances are, however, that this shouldn't cause an issue: most mounted cameras will require batteries and memory card changes in similar cadence to PlexiDrone’s need to rest. http://youtu.be/L9OwUOtU380

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Portable doesn’t mean that PlexiDrone doesn’t pack a punch, however. This camera copter is capable of carrying roughly a kilogram of payload, so be prepared to send GoPros, Sony Action Cams, and a growing list of other mountable cameras up into the sky. While nothing is yet set in stone, the term “Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera” has been tossed around the DreamQii office a time or two, and they’re currently checking out potential mounts for lightweight Sony superstars, the Alpha 5000 and 5100. [image:blog_post:52811]

The hits keep on coming with PlexiDrone, offering a GPS-based “follow me” feature, for those of us looking to take selfie production value through the roof. The follow functionality is as simple as locking onto the GPS signal of an iOS or Android smartphone. PlexiDrone can also be used in conjunction with other PlexiDrones for Multi-Vantage filming. That’s right – PlexiDrones can, and will, swarm things. Don't worry though – the swarming is all controlled through a single mobile device interface.

 

Control from the ground has also been thoroughly thought through (holy alliteration, Batman) with the innovative PlexiHub. The PlexiHub allows for long-range PlexiDroning by bridging the signal of a controller's mobile device with a long-range radio signal good for a line-of-site friendly 1km, though the actual range is much longer, future-proofing PlexiDrone for the day when non-line-of-sight flying is permitted. Control doesn't have to be through a mobile device, however. Those in favor of a more traditional control system can attach their own 6 channel receiver in order to use their own RC controller. [image:blog_post:52821]

All of this is well and good, but none of it would mean a thing if the footage captured wasn’t good. Well, they’ve thought of that and have made the landing gear of PlexiDrone retractable to allow for 360-degrees of unobstructed viewing. No more cropping legs out of images or clips.

Additional features include obstacle avoidance with 6.5 meters of forward sight, audible feedback in the way of an actual voice (e.g. “I’m ready to fly now”, or “You should really practice flying me more”), and a developer-friendly serial and power port to allow for custom payload and data transmission.

PlexiDrone will be available in Q2 of 2015, and can be pre-ordered through Indiegogo on the PlexiDrone website.

 

Russ Fairley is a producer, editor and motion graphic designer who enjoys writing for Videomaker. He has also written for About.com (Lifewire.com), RedShark News, Modern Drummer Magazine, and others. He is an Adobe Certified Expert, Adobe Community Leader, and co-founder of After Effects Toronto, Canada's largest motion graphic user group. Fairley is the creator and editor of ProductionWorld.net, a popular production news website.

2 COMMENTS

  1. DreamQii and Klever have clearly forgotten all about this interview. The product simply doesn’t exist and it’s doubtful if it ever will! No one has seen it. They haven’t delivered the PlexiDrone to any customers and have not delivered the BublCam, or the Sony video cameras either. It’s all just a dream idea right now (or a nightmare for some customers!). DreamQii launched a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo back in October 2014, promising to deliver the quadcoptor UAS drone “PlexiDrone” by March 2015. March 2015 came without delivery of PlexiDrone and without a reasonable explanation from DreamQii. Then the delivery date was pushed to April 2015, then September 2015, all dates passed without delivery of the PlexiDrone to any customers. DreamQii didn’t respond to customer requests for product delivery or product development updates. Customers asked via: emails to DreamQii, on the Indiegogo comments page for DreamQii and via DreamQii’s Facebook page, most went unanswered and ignored. DreamQii would often give vague updates, that didn’t say anything of any substance and simply mislead customers. If you visit their Indiegogo campaign page, their Facebook page or other “PlexiDrone” customer pages you will quickly read about the frustration many customers are experiencing. If this is how DreamQii treats their customers who have supported and backed them before they have even produced a product, imagine how bad their customer service will be if DreamQii ever does deliver their product!!

  2. I am not sure if this is the first time you have invested in a crowdfunding campaign or are just intentionally doing this to destroy the reputation of the company. A company that is building such a complex product shouldn’t be treated this way. They are very much out there and not trying to spam anyone. Production delays are a very common thing and happens to any company. If production delays happen to a company that is just starting off, it is nothing new. DreamQii as a company has been focusing on more important aspects right now which include perfecting the PlexiDrone. They already revamped the initial model to look and perform much better. Even though they have been slow in getting back to their customers, they have still been getting back. Many customers have already got back refunds. There are lots of new videos being posted showing the progress of the company and the drone. It looks very promising.
    A company that is trying to spam their backers would not be posting videos and giving refunds or interacting with customers on their pages such as YouTube and Facebook.
    Maybe you should try and check out their videos page on YouTube. Here is the link:
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbAkEasfVPNB2b9eH9sgpOg/videos

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