With upcoming winter weather expected to break almost as cold and wet as last year, what could be cozier or more fun than gathering around a crackling fire with some good friends, tasty cider and a few of your favorite indoor drones?
Although many UAVs are specifically designed and tested for outdoor use, a growing number of smaller – toy-class – drones have recently rolled/flown onto the market. Here are some of the best picks.
First-time drone pilots will find the Hubsan X4 a fun, inexpensive choice. Its 6-axis flight control system with adjustable gyro sensitivity provides just the right amount of agility needed to handle small, indoor spaces. Plus, it comes standard with propeller guards for the inevitable crashes into the ceiling, door or family cat.
The X4 boasts a flight time of seven minutes with its 7V Voltage, 380mAh li-po battery and can be easily charged via a USB wall/PC charger. With 4 night-LED lights and rubber landing feet, the X4 is one of the more fun models for an evening of winter drone frivolity.
Parrot Rolling Spider
What could be more fun than flying a drone in the confines of your own home? Did you immediately think “flying a drone with WHEELS attached?” If so, Parrot’s latest mini-drone, the Rolling Spider, belongs in your Xmas stocking. The lightweight mini is designed for acrobatic agility – performing a number of low flying tricks controlled by a smartphone interface. By adding wheels the drone can – wait for it – roll up walls and on to the ceiling.
For just $100, the Spider packs a lot of tech inside a small package – boasting data fusion technology to enhance stability while incorporating pressure sensors for flight altitude, an ultrasonic sensor for near-ground flight, a built-in vertical camera, and a 3-axis gyroscope/3-axis accelerometer.
Another micro-UAV designed for beginners, the Cheerson X-30 is lightweight, inexpensive and can perform indoor tricks (3D flips in four directions). It includes self-correcting, anti-interference tech that ensures safety indoors and records video footage with a 640 x 480 camera. With a flight time of 5-8 minutes, the X-30 has a toy feel to it which makes it perfect for indoor flight. The X-30 remote looks like an xBox controller and is decked out in fun colors. Unlike many models in its price range, the X-30 comes equipped with a 1 Gb micro-SD card. For under $100, the X-30 is a fun, safe choice for indoor flight.
Walkera QR W100S
Like the Rolling Spider, Walkera’s QR W100 can be controlled by your smartphone via WiFi. Its onboard camera features a first-person viewpoint and allows video and image storage to an iPhone or iPad. When being controlled by an iPhone or iPad, the QR takes advantage of the smart device’s accelerometer and gyroscope for a simple control interface.
Swann Xtreem QuadForce
Just squeaking into the under-$100 category, Swann’s Xtreem QuadForce Video Drone includes a 720p video camera and (realizing the inevitability of indoor crashes) a set of spare props and removable propeller guards. Like most small, indoor models, it boasts about eight minutes of flying time per charge. As Sean Hollister reports in Gizmodo: “It’s one of the most stable cheap quadcopters I tried, stable enough to fly around my tiny townhouse indoors, and stable enough to fly in a mild breeze—though you’ll get some very shaky footage.”
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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