Every now and then a new gadget comes out that just blows your mind, something that makes you want to sell your children and a lung to ensure that you own it as soon as possible.
Enter Lily, the flying camera that may be about to change the way that active people capture their lives. No more strapping devices to your body, bicycle or skateboard. That is so last year.
Lily is perfect for those of us who would rather concentrate on the actual activity and spend less time worrying about where we position our camera or trying to make the damn thing stay in the air without crashing it.
The Lily Camera measures eight centimetres high and about 26cm square and weighs just 1.3kg, so it can be stored in a backpack and pulled out when needed. The body is completely sealed, so rain, dirt and snow are not an issue, not to mention that you can even throw it into the water.
Speaking of throwing, that is how you launch it: just throw it into the air and its motors will kick in automatically as the drone takes flight.
So if you don’t have to fly it, then how does it work? Lily has a strap on tracking device that uses a combination of GPS and visual subject tracking; the tracker lets the camera know what your position, distance and speed so it can keep you in the shot.
A mobile app lets you program the different flight plans that are available, so it can hover in place, rotate around you or follow you around. The app lets you set other flight plans as well as editing and sharing you videos and photos.
The built-in camera uses the same 12-megapixel Sony sensor that are found in top action cameras like the GoPro Hero3. This little flying miracle can capture 12-megapixel stills and 1080p video at up to 60 frames per second or 720p at 120fps. Audio is provided via a built-in mic on the tracker that’s synced with the camera.
Your photos and video can be stored either on the 4GB of internal storage or on a microSD card.
The internal lithium-ion pack is should give you about 20 minutes of flight time and will take 2 hours for a full recharge. Replaceable batteries may have been a nice option, but this would have come at the expense of it being fully waterproof, personally I would rather have the later.
The quadcopter can reach speeds of 40kmph and altitude is set from 1.75 meters above you to a maximum of 15m, with a maximum distance 30m from you.
If you are like me and you want one now, I am afraid that you will be a little disappointed. The Lily Camera will only start shipping in February 2016 and will be a hefty R11 000 when it does. But, if you jump on the 29-day pre-order campaign, you will be able to get one for a mere R6 000. Off you go then.