Snap, the company that owns the social networking app Snapchat, this week announced yet another physical product: after the Spectacles, the camera glasses that the brand debuted in the US in 2016, the company now sells the Pixy, a pocket-sized drone that also comes with a camera.
Like Spectacles, Pixy’s idea is to let you take photos and record videos for social media hands-free. Sold only in the US and France for US$ 230 (about R$ 1,140 in direct conversion), the device can fly and land on its own, and fits in the palm of a hand.
To make it take off, you first need to hold it with the palm of your hand open at eye level, so that the camera recognizes the owner. When the propellers start to spin, just release it and it will stay in the air, following the flight pattern you establish. The defaults are:
float (drone stays still); reveal (drone moves away to show more of the environment); follow (Pixy follows owner’s face wherever it goes); and orbit (it rotates around owner).
Pixy weighs just 101 grams and comes with a 12 MP camera capable of recording 100 videos or 1,000 photos, which are stored in the device’s 16 GB internal memory. Images are automatically synced to the user’s Snapchat account via wifi.
According to Snap, Pixy can only recognize and track human faces — not for dogs, cats or cars, for example. The company also says it works best by tracking one person at a time, but it can also be used in groups.
Pixy takes off by itself: just stretch your arm at eye level
When you want to end the flight, just stretch your hand in the same position in which Pixy took off: thanks to its second camera, which is on the bottom of the drone, it can detect movement and understands that it’s time to land.
The removable battery is capable of fueling five to eight flights lasting 10 to 20 seconds each. Extra batteries will sell for $20 each, plus a $50 battery charger.
Because it is such a lightweight device, the Pixy should not be used in windy situations, according to Snap. The company also recommends that it doesn’t take off over water or other shiny or reflective surfaces, as they can get in the way of the bottom camera the drone uses to locate itself.
In an interview with the American website The Verge, Evan Spiegel, founder and chief executive of Snap, justified the creation of Pixy: “we are a camera company”, he said. “Our mission is to empower people so they can express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world and have fun together. And this product does just that.”
According to Spiegel, Pixy is more of an advertising bet than a for-profit product. But he believes that the drone, being light, practical and cheaper than competitors of the same format, can sell more than the Spectacles.
“After a few versions [dos Spectacles], it became very clear that the camera eyewear market is really very small and restricted to people who want that first-person point of view. I think the market for Pixy is bigger.”