Saturday, March 19, 2016

Here's a floating billboard that's a cross between a drone and a blimp

This inflatable machine combines the maneuverability of a drone with efficiency of a blimp. Developed by Swiss startup Aerotain, the helium-filled, propeller-powered Skye can be outfitted with an internal projector to display moving pictures on the balloon's skin, turning it into some kind of spherical billboard that can float safely around and interact with people.

"This is where the magic happens; four motors are allowing it to perform any movement, so you can really move it in the air like a flying eye," Aerotain co-founder Daniel Meier told Reuters. "There is a computer on board which knows exactly how it's orientated in the world, and then it gives commands to the motors to actually align it to where you want it to be. And there are four motors on it which can rotate around their axis and with them you can precisely control it in any environment, basically."

Skye has been used at events as a crowd-pleaser, but it's also strong enough to carry on-board cameras for aerial photography. Below is an early demo video of the machine in action.

[h/t: Fortune]

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