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January 06, 2015      

If you haven’t heard of the Zano nano drone yet, you certainly will after the 2015 International CES. And after TMZ gets its celeb-spying paws on a few.

This palm-sized quadcopter from the Torquing Group, which weighs just 1.94 oz, is a must-see at CES. The WiFi-enabled drone features a 5 megapixel HD video camera and is designed as a personal photography and HD video capturing platform. And it’s all controllable via smartphone or tablet (iOS or Android) by simply tilting your control device in the direction you want the Zano to fly. It comes with a Lantronix xPico Wi-Fi module for secure and direct connectivity.

Like most drones out there, the flight time needs to improve. The Zano can fly for about 10-15 minutes and features USB charging. The battery is removable, so if you carry multiple batteries, you can get extended flight time. It has software that ensures Zano will avoid obstacles, return to your mobile device if it feels its strayed too far, is losing signal, or is running low on battery.

“When we began work on Zano, our goal was to make aerial photography and video capture truly accessible to everyone,” says Reece Crowther, head of marketing, Torquing Group. “This meant making Zano small and lightweight, yet durable enough to take with you anywhere. Intelligent enough so no piloting skills were required, and most of all, pricing Zano at a point that makes it affordable.”

Zano completed a very successful Kickstarter campaign, raising more than $1 million in a single day. Zano operates on a “virtual tether” with your device, and a mode called “Follow Me” makes it hover a set distance away from it.

The Torquing Group says it will be adding the following features to Zano down the road:

  • Tracking of a set target through image processing. (“Follow me” capability is available right away through Zano’s Virtual Tether operation.)
  • Facial recognition capability
  • 360 and 180 degree panoramics
  • Instant imaging editing suite (Image filters, adding text, audio, etc.)
  • Custom LED Pixel Art creation
  • Swarming capability! A user will be able to control multiple Zano’s from one device, this will enable photographs and video of the same event from Multiple Vantage Points.

The Zano App will allow for “In-App” purchases of new functionality and capability for Zano as it’s developed. The Zano is slated for a June 2015 delivery, but if you’re at CES, stop by booth and see it in action.

“The growth of personal drones is flying high with consumers as more and more people use these unmanned flying machines for a wide variety of purposes,” says Kurt Busch, president and chief executive officer for Lantronix. “Drones such as Zano are examples of applications of the convergence of IoT and mobility …”