A Cheap Folding Drone That's Strong Enough To Carry a GoPro

They say the best quadcopter is the one you have with you (or is that cameras?) because not every opportunity to capture some glorious aerial footage is planned. So while you can spend thousands of dollars on a giant rig designed to hoist a heavy DSLR, why not save yourself some cash and opt for this wonderful $495 Pocket Drone that folds into a case smaller than a seven-inch tablet.

When compacted the Pocket Drone is just three inches thick so it's easy to toss in a backpack and always have on hand when you're adventuring. And as an added bonus, since the struts supporting the props all fold, they'll collapse in a crash absorbing impact forces. Instead of remaining rigid and potentially cracking or snapping.

You'll also notice that the Pocket Drone is actually a tricopter, not a quadcopter, since it only has three propeller blades. One less motor means the craft can squeeze about 20 minutes of flight time from its rechargeable batteries, even with a GoPro attached, and it's also a lot quieter than a four-engined quadcopter. So it's wins all around.

The Pocket Drone can be piloted using its included controller, an accompanying free app for your mobile device of choice, or programmed to automatically follow a series of pre-plotted GPS waypoints. But if those options don't work for you, the tricopter's flight control software is open source so you're free to hack in your own solution.

The only downside is that the Pocket Drone is currently being crowdfunded via Kickstarter. And while the videos of the pre-production models raise our hopes that this tiny craft could deliver as promised, there's always the risk it will be late, hit an unplanned roadblock, or never actually materialize one day. [AirDroids via Gizmag]