LAS VEGAS — Take it from someone who accidentally crashed a drone on live TV — they’re not that easy to control. But the clever Nixie drone promises to fly off your body with a flick of your wrist. It will then snap your selfie, then return right to your hand. During Intel’s CES keynote today (Jan. 7), Nixie wowed the crowd with a test flight, but I wanted to see it up close.
The $500,000 grand prize winner of Intel’s Make It Wearable Challenge, Nixie is a compact drone with a flexible-band design that fits around your wrist, and contains a swiveling 1080p camera. The prototype I saw looked a little ragged, as one of the wings didn’t fully collapse around my wrist, but that’s to be expected at this early stage.
Nixie Wearable Camera Drone Demo (Skip to 57:58)
The Nixie is designed to fly off your wrist and capture your image from a high angle, then come back to your hand. The company calls this boomerang mode.
During Intel’s keynote, Nixie’s founder and CEO Christoph Kohstall snapped the device off his wrist and gently tossed it in the air. It didn’t ascend very high, but it managed to take a photo and quickly circle back, allowing him to snag the device out of the air.
Based on what Nixie tweeted, the resultant photo wasn’t very sharp, but I’d like to think that the final version will do a better job. Plus, the stage area was a bit dark.
So what about applications? Nixie says that its flying camera could be used at the park, on the trail or any open space where you want to snag shots of what you’re doing. I asked a Nixie rep about what happens when there’s someone else with the same device in the same environment, and I was told that each camera-drone has a unique identifier, so it should return each time to its rightful owner.
Nixie hasn’t finalized certain details, such as battery life, or the full specs of the camera. But it is a clever concept that if priced right could find an audience.