Snap, the parent company of the photo-sharing app Snapchat, recently announced that it will release a handheld mini drone called Pixy. The company made its foray into hardware products with Spectacles, a pair of augmented reality-powered glasses that didn’t quite catch on with a mainstream audience, over five years ago. The drone is designed to take flight from the palm of the hand with the tap of a button and fly on four preset flight paths. It can float, orbit, and follow wherever the user leads, without a controller and without any setup.
“We first created Snapchat as a new way to use the Camera for self-expression and communication. From Lenses to Spectacles, there are so many ways to share your perspective. Today, we’re taking the power and magic of the Snap Camera to new heights,” the company says. “We’re introducing Pixy, your friendly flying camera. It’s a pocket-sized, free-flying sidekick that’s a fit for adventures big and small.”
Pixy is specifically designed as a companion to Snapchat. Videos from flights are wirelessly transferred and saved into Snapchat Memories, and from there, users can access Snapchat’s editing tools, Lenses, and Sounds to customize what has been shot.
“With a few taps, you can automatically crop into portrait and apply quick Smart Edits, like Hyperspeed, Bounce, Orbit 3D, and Jump Cut. Then, share to Chat, Stories, Spotlight, or any other platform,” Snap says.
Featuring a pared-down design, there is a button on top to power the drone and a camera dial that features six different automated flight patterns. You shouldn’t fly it far or over water as the bottom camera could be triggered and cause it to land. After take-off, the drone will follow you around and perform the desired effect you selected on the dial. With a fully-charged battery, that can be swapped out, you can get a range of five to eight flights, from 10–20 seconds.
While that may seem like a minuscule amount of time compared to typical drones, whose battery life averages 30 minutes per full charge, the Pixy is meant to capture content suited for Snapchat’s audience that shares temporary, short-lived content clips. A 12MP camera is capable of shooting up to 100 videos at up to 2.7K/30p or 1,000 photos. The 16MB locally-stored drive automatically syncs content captured on the drone directly to Snapchat.