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British 'nano drone' Zano reaches £2m of Kickstarter crowdfunding

posted Jan 8, 2015, 12:15 AM by J Shaw   [ updated Jan 8, 2015, 12:31 AM ]

British technology firm Torquing Group has raised more than £2m on crowdfunding site Kickstarter for a device called Zano that it claims is “the world’s most sophisticated nano drone”.

With just over a day to go until the crowdfunding campaign closes, Zano has far surpassed the original fundraising goal of £125,000 set by the Pembrokeshire-based company.

The tiny drone can be controlled from a mobile application, although it can also be ordered to “follow” its owner by maintaining a consistent position from their smartphone before returning to it when its battery is low.

The device can take photos and shoot video footage while in flight, and will cost £169.95 when it goes on sale later in the year. Kickstarter backers will get their devices in June, if the company hits its manufacturing deadlines.

“Our goal was to make aerial photography and video capture truly accessible to everyone,” the company’s head of marketing Reece Crowther explained on its Kickstarter project page.
The device’s tagline – “taking your selfies to new heights” – hints at its desire for mainstream appeal, rather than just appealing to the early adopters who’ve been exploring aerial photography with more expensive devices.

Another selling point of Zano is its removable battery, with owners able to swap between batteries for more flying time between recharges. The device uses a 5-megapixel HD video camera, and and promises 10-15 minutes of continuous flight time with a top speed of 25mph.

Torquing Group is also keen to stress that it is not a newcomer to this space: it has been working on nano drone technology for aerospace and defence clients since 2008.

As is common on Kickstarter, the company had promised a series of “stretch goals” for additional features that would be added as it reached various funding totals beyond its original target.

At £250,000, it promised to add 360-degree and 180-degree aerial panoramic shots; then the ability to track and video capture targets at £750,000; an image editing suite at £1m; and “swarming” features to enable people to control multiple Zano drones from one device at £2m.