Selfly - a personal drone that doubles as a phone case

The personal drone market is currently highly sought after. In a nutshell they are drones small enough to carry around with you easily, but still have a camera and some sort of autonomous features.

They are generally limited in range due to being controlled by wifi off your smart phone and are basically flying selfie sticks.

Not long ago DJI released its Mavic Pro, which doesn’t quite fit in a pocket, but will definitely fit in a shoulder bag and sports all the features of the bigger drones.

However, the Mavic and most of the other current personal drones are still priced rather high. Mavic Pro will set you back around $1700 or so, and other pocket sized offerings such as the Zerotech Dobby are over $400. Now that is a lot of money to avoid using a dorky selfie stick.

We reviewed both in Issue 4 of Drone Magazine if you want to find out more. Or see our online reviews Mavic Pro and Dobby.

I am always scanning the net for new drones whilst being wary of over-promises after the massive fail of the Lily drone. Be very cautious of Kickstarter drones - many more of them fail than make it to market.

I came across one that caught my eye the other day that is worth a look. It’s the Selfly Drone.

At time of writing, it has reached 2,749 backers on Kickstarter and smashed its goal of $125,000 by reaching $289,511 with 30 days still to go.

So why are backers happy to gamble on yet another Kickstarter drone? Its asking price is a big one.

A Kickstarter pledge is $119 shipped to Australia, and the retail price once in production should be around $139. That is loads cheaper than any competition meeting the same specs. It appears they have a working model in the video too.

You can’t be sure they aren’t using smoke and mirrors these days, but I also found a non-marketing, live demo video showing it actually flying and included the link below. It seems legit.

Either way, a selfie drone isn’t as hard to engineer as the ambitious, waterproof and fully autonomous Lily Drone.

The Selfly is unique in that it snaps to a 9mm thick smart phone case. Considering it is controlled by your smart phone too, it’s all there with you all the time. And it really does fit in your pocket.

The 650mah battery should last about 5 minutes, and they are supposed to be making a power bank too which will give it an extra charge. It weighs only 70gms, and the case accommodates smart phones 4-6 inches, which is pretty much most of them.

It uses an ultrasonic ground sensor for auto stabilisation and has an 8MP camera. Using hand gestures you can instruct it to better put you in frame.

Modes include HOVER, so you can set it up like a camera on a tripod and do your thing. And because it uses your smart phone for instructions, it allows FACE and SMILE Recognition, sweeping PANORAMA SHOTS or even a TRACKING MODE to follow your movements.

At AU$119, I might even pre-order one myself to see what it’s all about. It does look pretty cool, check out the marketing video below.

Shipping is estimated for June 2017, so we won't have to wait long to find out if it lives up to the hype.

- Andy Willmott, Technical Editor