Fotokite Phi makes flying a drone as easy as walking your dog

Drones are all the rage right now and we’ve covered our fair share here at 9to5Toys. The good news for consumers is that prices are slowly falling and top manufacturers are recognizing the need to introduce amateur friendly models. The new Fotokite Phi, “a camera on a leash”, might just be the easiest drone to fly that we have ever seen.

With GoPro compatibility and gesture controls, this model stands out as a unique option for beginner pilots. It has only been a few hours since the project launched on Indiegogo, but the response has been very positive.

Many drones on the market, like those from DJI for example, require users to be fairly astute pilots when it comes to safely keeping a drone in the sky. This is one of the most intimidating factors for amateurs that would like to begin flying but aren’t sure where to start. Making a $700+ investment doesn’t make sense for most consumers, Fotokite comes in at a price point and feature set that will be very attractive for many hobbyists.

Currently, the Fotokite Phi is available for the early bird price of $259. That price is set to jump up soon but in comparison to other drones on the market, is very affordable. Fotokite has zeroed in on a few features that should make it significantly easier for new pilots. Most notably, the tether system that connects the drone to the user’s wrist.

To activate the Fotokite, simply point it to your ideal location in the sky and give it a twist, it will then rise to that location. The smart leash controls the distance that the drone moves away from the user for tighter or wider shots. It’s much like flying a kite. Fotokite’s smart leash is 8 meters in length, which gets the drone just over 26 feet into the air. Of course, there isn’t a camera included but it does have support for the majority of GoPro’s products. The campaign states that you’ll be able to expect about 15 minutes of flight time, which is handled by a USB-rechargeable battery.

Without a wireless remote control, GPS signals or built-in iOS apps, this simplistic approach is guaranteed to bring in consumers that would otherwise be intimidated by offerings from DJI. Fotokite Phi has raised 16% of its goal in five hours and is well on its way to surpassing the required $300,000 in 30 days. After early bird pricing is snatched up, the cost will slowly rise to $349 with an estimated delivery of March 2016.

In need of a drone now? Check out this little quadcopters that are guaranteed to be plenty of fun to fly around.

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