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May 9, 2015 8:52 AM ET

Archived: PhoneDrone: Let your smartphone be your personal drone – PhoneDrone allows your smartphone to become an autonomous aerial camera; integrated flight planner, a tethered controller and more!

iCrowdNewswire - May 9, 2015

PhoneDrone: Let your smartphone be your personal drone.

by xCraft

PhoneDrone allows your smartphone to become an autonomous aerial camera; integrated flight planner, a tethered controller and more!

About this project

PhoneDrone is a revolutionary product that allows anyone with a smartphone to enjoy their own personal flying robot.  

 Your Smartphone flies with the drone!  Not only does the smart phone have flight planning software so that anyone can fly the PhoneDrone, the phone is on-board so that you have pictures taken directly with your phone.

We have thought of a few hundred uses-cases, but we’re sure that you will think of more.

With the PhoneDrone, you have given your phone the awesome power of flight! That in itself is amazing, but there’s so much more!

With our free app you can do everything from telling your phone where to go, how high to fly, stream video feedback to another mobile device, or even have it follow you like a bodyguard while you walk. It will even come back to you if its battery is too low. 

Are you a runner or participate in extreme sports? You could have the PhoneDrone be your personal surveillance cam or personal camera man.

Are you a real estate broker?  You could use the PhoneDrone to take steady and immersive videos of your properties – inside and out!  What’s more, you can get the footage and immediately upload it to MLS or send it to your clients.

Do you want to get rid of that selfie stick?  The PhoneDrone is the worlds longest selfie stick – everything will be caught in view of the camera.

Ever wanted to build your own home monitoring robot?  The PhoneDrone is personal and you can configure it to be an extension of your smart phone.

Are you an avid Periscope or Meerkat user?  What if you could broadcast a real-time feed from the eyes of your personal drone?

The PhoneDrone returns when the batteries are running low, the integrated flight management tool in the app means that you can control altitude and location for your flight path, and you can even tether the phone on-board with another phone.

Finally, for those of you that have a drone of some kind, we believe you’re going to love the PhoneDrone even more.  How often do you grit your teeth when you have to transfer video footage from the drone camera to your computer – just so you can share it with friends.  With the PhoneDrone, you have the files already on your phone and you can use the sharing tools that are automatically available on your smartphone.

Patent-pending smartphone core design
Patent-pending smartphone core design
  • Easy to use – Unlike many of the drones you see today, The PhoneDrone is as easy to use as opening an app on your phone. In fact that’s how you do it!  No drone experience necessary.
  • Affordable – You already have a camera and a computer in your pocket. Since we are just giving it wings we are able to cut out all of the things that normally make drones so expensive. Everyone has a smartphone in their pocket these days. Not everyone has a GPS Controlled flying phone that does what you tell it to do!
  • Familiar – Don’t be surprised if you experience a little Deja vu when programming your first flight mission. You might even think you accidentally opened your Google Maps app! 
  • Hardware upgrades as fast as your phone does!
    Since your phone is the camera, you will never have to upgrade your drone in order to be able to capture the best video possible! When you get your new phone your drone gets a new camera!
  • Quick to action–                                                                  
  • Step One: Setup your PhoneDrone                                           
  • Step Two: Open the Flight Command app, and select your type of flight (mission, follow-me, or joyride)                                          
  • Step Three: Fold out the arms of the drone and set PhoneDrone on a smooth surface.  
  • Step four: Step back, count to five, and Whooosh!
  • Control and video streaming -Easily pair to another mobile device for control and video streaming.
  • Built in charger – Charge from any USB source – or swap batteries for extended flight times.
  • A camera mirror –  Shoot straight down, forward, or anywhere in between!
  • Packable -PhoneDrone’s arms swing closed to make it ultra portable. 
  • Compatible – Phone works with all popular iOS and Android smartphones.
Mirror for shooting forward!
Mirror for shooting forward!
Folding arms for simple compact transportation
Folding arms for simple compact transportation

A powerful app!

Draw your mission on a map!
Draw your mission on a map!
Follow-me using another device!
Follow-me using another device!
Stream real-time video and control!
Stream real-time video and control!
  • Weight: 14.5 oz.
  • Dimensions: 7.5 x 4.5 x 2.5 in. (folded) 11 x 14 x 2.8 in. (extended)
  • Compatibility: iOS and Android  – See compatible models below
  • Wireless Pairing: Wi-Fi
  • Flight Time: 20-25 minutes
  • Speed: 0-35 MPH
  • Patent-pending smartphone core design
  • Foldable arms for easy transportation

    Device Compatibility

  • iPhone: 4S, 5, 5S, 6, 6 Plus
  • Android: Designed to operate on Samsung Galaxy S II and newer.  Will operate on most similar-generation Android smartphones.
  • Obstacle avoidance – We plan to incorporate ultrasonic sensors which will allow PhoneDrone to see and avoid obstacles while flying.  
  • Gesture control – Ever wanted to control a drone by having it copy your hand motions?  We’re working on it!

JD Claridge is the visionary and inventor of the PhoneDrone design. He started his career at a start-up aerospace design firm and later served several years as the lead electrical engineer at Quest Aircraft.  For the past few years JD has been running his own aerospace design firm. 

Charles Manning is the CEO of a leading mobile analytics technology company, Kochava. An aviation enthusiast, Charles has been partners with JD to build innovative UAV’s in the market.

Last year, JD and Charles were collaborating and discussed a project that JD was passionate about – the X PlusOne. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the X PlusOne has become a reality and shipping this summer. The PhoneDrone was born when doing work to prepare for the X PlusOne. While the X PlusOne is the fastest quad-copter on the market, the PhoneDrone is the first and only smart-phone driven personal drone.

Key Milestones (already done)  

  • Inception of PhoneDrone – December 2014 – DONE  
  • Conceptualize overall design – January 2015 -DONE  
  • File patent application – February 2015 – DONE
  • Develop prototype iterations and test – March 2015 -DONE
  • First flight of conforming prototype – March 2015 – DONE  
  • Finalize costs, develop supply chain and manufacturing capability- April 2015 -DONE  

Key Milestones (after successful funding)  

  • Release final drawings and first version of software – July 2015  
  • Order molded and custom components – August 2015  
  • Order for off-the-shelf parts – August 2015  
  • Secure backup supply chain – September 2015
  • Molded and custom parts manufactured – October 2015
  • Confirm app conformance with manufactured units – October 2015
  • Final assembly and testing at the xCraft factory – November 2015  

We have a proven design and we want to do a large-scale production run – working with Kickstarter to gauge how many units will be produced. We feel confident that we will hit our minimum – we simply wonder how many we will punch out in this first production run. We are excited to hit our stretch goals with your help!


Risks and challenges

There are a few challenges and risks that are related to the PhoneDrone. Fortunately, neither successful design and implementation are on the list. While in preparation for production for our successful Kickstarter campaign for the X PlusOne, our design team has been creating the PhoneDrone.

We have learned a lot of valuable lessons on the X PlusOne and we have incorporated those lessons as we launch the PhoneDrone.

There are some risks about scheduling and volume production, but fortunately, we have set timing expectations for pre-holiday (November, 2015) mitigate any risk around scheduling and we have set the funding requirement to $250k USD so that we are assured that we will be able to take advantage of volume manufacturing price-breaks.

From a problem solving perspective, our team is made up of Aerospace engineers, electrical engineers and software engineers. We know what happens when there are problems and we work every day to address them. We’re confident that we will ship!

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