Can’t decide between a DJI drone or GoPro’s new Karma? Well, you might just be able to have the best of both worlds. At least that’s the unlikely conclusion of a joint competition sponsored by DJI and 3D-printing service Shapeways. The two tech giants challenged designers to combine a Phantom 4 with 3D-printed parts to form an aerial search and rescue solution, and the winning design, the EXO 1, is now up for grabs.
Sometimes the world of tech throws up solutions to problems you didn’t even know you had yet. In this case, that problem is: Does your Phantom 4 not offer enough in an emergency search and rescue operation? Well now it can. The best entry in DJI and Shapeways’ competition was judged to be the EXO 1, from London-based Aussie-born designer Jack Frost. His design is a 3D-printed exoskeleton that’s the equivalent of a drone utility belt. The attachment adds a number of features to the Phantom 4, making it pretty handy in a search and rescue operation, as well as generally looking pretty badass.
Essentially, the Exo 1 will turn your Phantom 4 into a kind of drone/Swiss Army knife hybrid. The add-on is rugged, lightweight (although we have no idea what impact it has on battery life) and can, depending on what you fit onto it, offer increased visibility with extra cameras, the ability to carry a payload, better search with space for powerful searchlights, or even a bag to drop off supplies for remote rescues. As you can probably tell, customization is key.
For winning the competition Jack Frost won $1,000 and a Phantom 4 drone, and the EXO 1 is currently available for pre-order on Shapeways for $113.
Attaching a GoPro to a drone is nothing new – plenty of manufacturers rely on the camera company to handle capturing footage. But it’s fair to say that the EXO 1 offers a little more than that. Jack Frost from Frost Design writes:
“The accessory has six built-in GoPro mounts allowing you to attach any GoPro accessory to the drone, whether it’s a lightweight Hero Session for capturing angles that the camera can’t, or the unique Knog Qudos – a super bright video light that utilises the GoPro mounting system and gives the drone excellent visibility at night. There are also a plethora of GoPro accessories you can choose from which allows great flexibility. The other benefit from a GoPro mount is that it allows the accessory that’s using it to be swiveled to a variety of angles, giving you more options to mount any accessories in any way that suits the conditions.”
You can check out some of the other entries in the video below.