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DJI announces the $499 Spark, a compact hand-controlled drone
28 May 2017, 02:18 | Candice Butler
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"Spark is palm-sized and it weighs less than a can of soda", explained Michael Perry during the Spark reveal event at Grand Central Station in NY.
Like other recent DJI drones, the Spark is also capable of detecting and avoiding objects in its flight path.
Known more for its robust, expensive drones more popular with hobbyists and professionals than consumers, DJI is clearly making a play for the more affordable drone market.
The Spark is created to fit in your bag and be taken on the go.
The Spark takes all the best features of DJI's bigger drones, and shrinks them down.
As for the hardware, there's dual-band GPS, GLONASS, a forward-facing 3D sensing system, downward-facing vision system, inertial measurement, and 24 computing cores to process all that. It can sense obstacles from 16 feet away. Being compact in size and low in weight, it delivers high-quality results in terms of functionality. You can fly this drone accurately at a height of up to 98 feet (30 meters).
Each battery is built to last up to 16 minutes of flight time, which isn't at all bad given its size.
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Casey Neistat got his hands on one (of course) and gives a pretty great rundown of what the Spark can do in this video. The Spark sports a 12-megapixel camera that can capture photos and video in 1080p resolution.
Spark has inherited the autonomous flight modes and sensing technology features from some of its previous versions.
When Spark takes off from your hand, it automatically enters Gesture Mode.
The two new modes of shooting; Shallow focus and Pano mode make the whole flying experience more enjoyable and interesting too. Circle rotates the drone around the subject, and finally Helix spirals it up in the air and away. TapFly has been updated with a Coordinate sub-mode, that lets Spark automatically swoop over to a location you choose from your smartphone. But the new "QuickShot" modes should be the real appeal of the Spark.
Sport Mode: DJI'sSpark drone also has a Sport Mode letting users fly this at up to 31 mph or almost 50 km per hour. Here's where the gimbal switches to first-person view (FPV), so the camera moves with you as you fly. This is done by adjusting the gimbal, and stitching together a series of pictures.
DJI is obviously including photo/video filters within GO 4, automated editing and exporting/uploading to YouTube, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and other social networks. When it comes time to land, tapping the Spark's "Return to Home" button brings the aircraft back to its departure point. This features new advanced gesture controls like PalmControl, which lets operators control Spark with hand movements. Again, this is a cut-down version of the system you'd find in DJI's £1000+ drones. Apart from the aircraft, for this price you will also get a battery, a USB charger, and three propellers pairs. The company is also selling the SparkFly More Combo, which includes the Spark, two LiPo batteries, four pairs of propellers, propeller guards, a dedicated remote control, charging hub and a carrying case for $699.
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