Intel Powers Mini Drone That Can Be Controlled By Hand Gestures
Intel powers DJI Spark drone

Intel Powers Mini Drone That Can Be Controlled By Hand Gestures

Tech giant Intel is focusing on many technologies at a time: Virtual reality, augmented reality, 360-degree videos, and an amalgamation of all emerging technologies.

Visual intelligence is another area that the company is looking at.

Movidius, an Intel company, has been working with DJI since 2015 to provide visual intelligence to its drones.

On May 24, DJI unveiled Spark, a high-end mini drone that features intelligent flight control options, a mechanical gimbal, and a camera with incredible image quality.

This drone will be powered by Myriad 2 vision processing unit (VPU), a processor used for accelerating machine vision tasks such as object detection, 3D mapping, and contextual awareness through deep learning algorithms.

The mini drone is packed with features such as facial recognition, gesture mode, vision sensors, and safe landing.

When placed on the palm of the hand, the mini drone recognizes the user’s face and knows when to take off, making the launch seamless.

The user operating the drone can wave their hands to catch Spark’s attention, move it with arm gestures, and let the drone know they are ready for the perfect shot by making a frame with their fingers.

The drone can return to its home point automatically with a sufficient GPS signal. While using the remote controller, if the battery gets too low, connection is lost, or the operator presses the Return to Home (RTH) button, the drone can fly back to the preset home point.

“Controlling a camera drone with hand movements alone is a major step towards making aerial technology an intuitive part of everyone’s daily life, from work and adventure to moments with friends and family. Spark’s revolutionary new interface lets you effortlessly extend your point of view to the air, making it easier than ever to capture and share the world from new perspectives,” said Paul Pan, senior product manager at DJI.

“Spark packs amazing new computer vision and deep learning features into our most compact drone yet, in addition to intelligent flight and safety features that DJI owners already know and love,” he said.

These features, combined with DJI’s object avoidance algorithms, make it one of the most intelligent drones on the market.

“To reach the impressive level of miniaturization seen in Spark, DJI looked to Intel Movidius chips for an innovative solution that reduces the size and weight of the drone,” said Remi El-Ouazzane, vice president of New Technology Group and general manager of Movidius Group at Intel Corporation.

“Our advanced Myriad 2 VPU combines processing of both traditional geometric vision algorithms and deep learning algorithms, meaning Spark not only has spatial awareness but contextual awareness as well,” El-Ouazzane said.

Drone Camera Specs

Spark’s camera features a 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor that captures 12-megapixel photos and shoots stabilized HD 1080p videos. Spark’s 2-axis mechanical gimbal and UltraSmooth technology dramatically reduce shake and rolling shutter effect to capture cinematic shots effortlessly.

Spark is powered by a high-energy density LiPo battery and has a maximum flight time of up to 16 minutes. When flying with the remote controller accessory, Spark allows for 720p real-time video transmission from up to 1.2 miles (2 km) away, the company states on its website.

Price and Availability

The retail price of a DJI Spark, including an aircraft, a battery, a USB charger, and three pairs of propellers is $499. The Spark Fly More Combo includes an aircraft, two batteries, four pairs of propellers, a remote controller, propeller guards, a charging hub, a shoulder bag and all necessary cables, with a U.S. retail price of $699. Pricing and availability of other accessories for Spark will be announced at a later date.

Spark will be available for pre-order at store.dji.com. Spark pre-orders will start shipping in mid-June, the company announced on its website.

[Featured Image by DJI]

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