What's on Team Fathom's holiday wish list? An artificially intelligent version of the selfie stick.
Unless you travel with a tripod or your own band of paparazzi, it isn't easy taking candid photos of yourself on the go, especially when jet-setting solo. You either have to interrupt the moment and ask a friend or passerby to snap a photo, resort to the often unsightly selfie (or worse, the selfie stick), or attempt the impossible and use the timer function on most smartphone cameras.
There's now another option: Hover Camera Passport, a foldable, fully enclosed, travel-friendly quadcopter that runs on artificial intelligence. The $600 device, released this October by Zero Zero Robotics, has an adjustable thirteen-megapixel camera that also shoots 4K video. It's incredibly straightforward, and requires almost no flight training to use: turn on, toss in the air, operate with your smartphone, and grab to power down.
The real highlight (for travelers, runners, bikers, hikers, cliff-jumpers, and narcissists of all stripes) is the face and body tracking technology, which enables the Passport to follow you autonomously on your journey, like a personal photographer with wings, as well as film 360-degree video while circling you in Orbit mode. Talk about stepping up your selfie game.
Still, what distinguishes the drone from other devices with similar technology is its design. Due to its light weight (242 grams), the device isn't subject to the FAA's Hobbyist Drone Registration, meaning you can legally fly it right out the box. The drone's four propellers are enclosed in carbon fiber, making it safe to adjust (like a floating tripod) and use indoors. Best of all, the device folds in half and fits comfortably in any day bag or carry on (just tuck the batteries in a Lipo-safe bag before check-in.)
Hover Camera Passport is not the kind of drone that scales cliffs — battery life is approximately ten minutes, though the set comes with two cells, and range is limited to roughly twenty meters, as the device is controlled over WiFi. But it is an attractive, intuitive, portable flying camera designed for travelers who want to capture moments ordinary selfies can't.
WATCH THE DRONE IN ACTION
Available online at gethover.com for $599.