A broad selection of camera drones built for the most diverse purposes is available on the market nowadays, so what else could be new one might ask. Just launched on Kickstarter, Jackie proposes a slightly different approach – it aims to serve as an indoor security solution and could be regarded as a flying surveillance camera that allows users to remotely monitor their entire home from a smartphone, and aims to do this at an affordable price.
The project is the brainchild of Jackie Wu and Ritwik Ummalaneni, graduate students in the Robotics Master’s program at Northwestern University, and founders of startup Eighty Six Ninety-One Technologies focused on bringing a range of IoT products to the market in the future.
March 15th update: The campaign has been momentarily discontinued by its creators, with a promise that they will be back up later this year, read their message here.
Still in an early prototyping stage, the Jackie drone is based on Crazyflie, a minuscule open source quadcopter with a footprint of only 9cm2 equipped with on-board 2.4GHz radio, and 3-axis gyro and accelerometer, just to get a glimpse at what the final product might be like. With an added airframe guard the footprint is increased to almost 13 square cm (5 sq in). An on-board HD camera is added and wireless charging capabilities will be also available, along with a charging dock with integrated speakers and microphone.
Live video can be streamed simultaneously to multiple iOS and Android devices running the mobile app which also serves as an user friendly remote control for flying the drone, featuring several automated routines for take-off and landing. Even though it might scare the cat, Jackie’s mobility advantages are immediately apparent when compared to traditional home security cameras. The stream can also be accessed even when the drone is not in flight emphasizing the surveillance camera characteristic.
Cloud based computer vision algorithms could also be employed enabling the drone to detect suspicious activity and send alerts to the user, should the first stretch goal be reached. Other possible future developments are waypoint flying, cloud storage of video and data, and maybe even creating a platform compatible with ROS.
The Jackie camera drone aims to be pretty affordable, it can be pre-ordered for a minimum pledge of US $199 from the project’s campaign page. The team hopes to raise US $40,000 in order to refine the design and start manufacturing, with shipping expected in winter this year.