DJI Introduces Spark
” When I worked at Popular Photography (RIP), part of my job was to review drones. I understood what made a drone desirable and what features were cool enough to notice, but I never got good at flying them. I crashed one into a picnic table and literally flew one off of a cliff, where it lost GPS contact and flew off over the wilds of upstate New York bound (I think?) for Canada. And while these unmanned crafts have come a long way since their humble and wobbly beginnings, they can still be a pain to set up and fly. The category leader DJI is hoping its new “palm-sized” drone called the Spark can change that.
The $500 flying machine comes in a variety of different colors, which is typically an indicator that a product is meant for the masses—there’s no risk of mistaking this sunny yellow number for a piece of military equipment. The Spark uses the typical quad-rotor configuration that should be very familiar by now if you have ever seen any of DJI’s other aircrafts. It also has a lot of the AI-driven smarts you’ll find in higher-end models like the Mavic Pro and the Phantom that help it handle things like object detection and automated flying.”
” The hook, however, is Spark’s simplicity. One of the primary ways to interact with the craft is gesture recognition, in which the sensor actually detects the pilot’s hand and follows it around like you’re Darth Vader and it’s being compelled by the Force. This isn’t a totally new idea, but gesture control often requires some kind of external sensor or glove. That’s not the case here. You can even launch the drone from your hand and then catch it out of the air if you’re feeling brave or you have really tough thumbs.
Pre-orders start today for $499, but the drone itself will start shipping out in mid-June. You can also pre-order the Spark Fly More Combo Kit, which costs $699 and comes with an extra battery, an extra set of rotors, a charger for multiple batteries, a carrying case, and blade guards for flying inside without costing yourself time and money repairing your drywall if things go sideways. Honestly, the kit seems like the better deal since 16 or so minutes of flight time on a single battery likely won’t be enough.”