Nixie has created a wearable, flyable camera that sits on your wrist and takes off when you need that special selfie. One of its target customers is the rock climber, who is often so busy hanging on to a cliff for dear life that he or she doesn’t have hands available to shoot a selfie.
The device, called Nixie like the company, sits on your wrist. You press a button, and then it takes off. It flies a short distance away, turns around, and shoots a picture or video of you. It’s for those moments in life when you can’t snap your own photo and when a wearable helmet camera won’t do the job.
The idea is so novel (or crazy) that Intel awarded Nixie the top $500,000 prize for its Intel Make It Wearable Challenge. Announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, the contest drew more than 500 entrants who proposed wearable devices using Intel’s processors.
The idea came from Nixie head Christoph Kohstall, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford Univesity.
“He came to me one day and said, Why don’t we make a quad copter wearable?” said Jelena Jovanovic, a team member (and former Google employee) at Nixie, in an interview with VentureBeat. They started work and found that they had six days until the submission deadline for Intel’s contest. They built a prototype and submitted the proposal with a minute to spare. They competed against 10 finalists and, after voting by an all-star panel of judges, Nixie won. Nixie uses an Intel Edison chip, or processor for “Internet of things” applications.
Jovanovic said the team doesn’t know when it will finish Nixie yet, but the money from Intel is a big help. They plan to target adventurers who have their hands full while on the go.
“It will give rock climbers something they can’t get, which is this amazing perspective on their sport,” Jovanovic said.
Nixie’s team includes Kohstall, Jovanovic, and Michael Niedermayr.
Nixie’s rotors are flexible and can wrap around your wrist. On your cue, it unfolds and flies. We’ve added an interview with Nixie’s Jovanovic below, as well as the team’s own video.