5 Drones That Could Make You The Coolest Kid In Town

Drones are fun. Drones are cool. And, for now, drones are legal. Here are a few great commercial/entry-level drones that can take to the air right now and a few that might make it into stores – and the air – later this year.

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Here come the drones

Consumer drone use is a hot topic right now. Policies have been complicated by factors like the FAA’s struggle to regulate unmanned aircrafts. Some are in strong opposition to their existence, as seen in one angry woman’s assault on a teen operating a drone for hobbyist purposes at a Connecticut state park. Flickr | David Rodriguez Martin

Start-up Drones

Drones have a lot of potential to grow in the tech world, and drone technology is being embraced by numerous startups and gadget creators. Plus, they’re pretty darn cool. So, in defense of the drones, we give you 5 drones designed for consumer use that you could actually own. Flickr | Bit Boy

Jumping Sumo and Rolling Spider

Parrot has released two new minidrones, the Jumping Sumo and the Rolling Spider. Both drones can be controlled through a smartphone app and were primarily designed to be fun toys for drone newbies, or those who are interested in drones but don’t want to shell out thousands to own one. The Jumping Sumo can be optimized to launch itself horizontally or vertically through the air. The Rolling Spider can fly, scale walls indoors, and is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

AirDog

When it comes to imaging, the AirDog from Helico Aerospace wants to capture more than just POV angles. The sports action drone pairs with an AirLeash wrist strap, allowing the drone to automatically follow you and capture your moves with GoPro. The product was recently funded on Kickstarter.

The DJI Phantom 2 Vision

The DJI Phantom 2 Vision plus Quadcopter is a prosumer device that boasts a built-in GPS unit and a built-in camera you can remotely control through your phone. The camera works within nearly a 1,000-foot range with extended Wi-Fi. What sets this particular drone apart is the direct video downlink from the camera that shows up on your smartphone, along with a HUD detailing important flight information.

MIT's Aerial Lighting Drone

Researchers at MIT have developed a drone that could be a photographer’s new best friend. The robot is designed like a mini helicopter equipped with a light source. The machine can adapt to changes in a subjects posture, so the photographer can achieve the desired effect without having to adjust external light sources.

Pocket Drones

Pocket Drones is a small startup that released their first drone at our Hardware Battlefield and made $50,000 in a few hours. The tiny drone packs up into a (big) pocket and is ready to fly in seconds. It’s great fun and entirely handmade.