Gadgets

Now on Kickstarter: an aquatic drone you control via smartphone app

Above: Ziphius

Image Credit: Azorean

Ziphius is an aquatic drone you can control with an app. It can explore beneath the ocean waves and transmit video to you, or it can play with your kids in the swimming pool.

Ziphius in a pool

Above: Ziphius in a pool

Image Credit: Azorean

Portugal-based Azorean, a spinout of parent company YDreams, is raising $125,000 in a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to develop Ziphius as a tool to explore the ocean or just have fun in the water. It has a high-definition camera that you can control via a smartphone or tablet. It has a 160-degree viewing angle so you can see under the water. It can fetch a ball like a pet (pictured right) and tow your kids along on a pool float.

Christina Gouveia, chief operations officer, said the company is creating a do-it-yourself version of Ziphius that glows in the dark. That will show that it is easy to customize the platform. Out of the gate, Ziphius will feature several augmented reality games and artificial intelligence.

The device includes cool hardware, including a Raspberry Pi computer and an ATMEGA processor that controls the motors, the camera, the camera’s servo, and the lights. The components also include a Wi-Fi module that allows Ziphius to create an access point to connect a user to Ziphius. Software running inside Ziphius controls the electronics, processes images, and enables the app to control the drone. The app will be available on the iOS platform. Ziphius has a one-hour battery life under average conditions.

You can explore natural life in a lagoon, play in the waves like a surfer, and race other drones. It’s like an aquatic pet. It can move at up to 6 miles per hour and has a 300-foot Wi-Fi range. It is designed to stay upright, regardless of how it is buffeted by waves. It also recognizes shapes and colors.

The company has raised more than $76,855 from 329 backers with seven days to go in its month-long campaign. Ziphius will have different color “outfits” for consumers.

The app will be available on Android and iOS, and the device uses the Unity development platform. The product was created in in Ponta Delgada, Azores (an archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean), in 2012. Azorean has raised about $75,000 to date from YDreams and Financor. The company has eight full-time people and 10 collaborators.