Successful transition to market is a vital step for most technological breakthroughs. If the targeted audience does not respond well to the product of the research, it might serve only as a step for a greater innovation in the future. While this is still an honorable goal, both science and society can benefit from practical application of research. In today’s case, we will talk about a small company with big goals, which is aiming to achieve its big breakthrough.
Meng Qiu Wang is the Founder and CEO of Zero Zero Robotics, a robotics company pioneering the future of smart flying robotics. Its flagship product, Hover Camera, a truly consumer-friendly autonomous flying camera. He obtained his Master’s Degree from Carnegie Mellon and his PhD in Computer Science from Stanford, where he researched machine learning at the university’s Natural Language Processing (NLP) Laboratory.
The camera-drone has not yet made a true appearance on the market, but its features are promising. The device can take 13MP photos and 4K video. The feed is enhanced by using electronic image stabilization software. So far, it is what one would expect from such a camera, but that is where the fun only starts. The magic of Zero Zero Robotics’ first product lies mostly in its software. It is running a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, which allows for some pretty advanced tricks. Throw and balance feature lets the user literally toss the drone into air. It can either automatically hover, or autonomously follow you.
For its navigation it uses feed from the main camera, but it also has a downward facing camera, which is used to feed more information into its flight control algorithm. The ‘following’ feature is based on facial recognition software, not on GPS as it is common in drones. This one can also be folded in half, which together with its carbon fiber body, makes it very portable. Plus, the whole device weights only 238 grams.
This is an example of true utilization of a user experience design. In order to make a technology more accessible, it has to become at least seemingly simpler. This way, it is available to a much broader spectrum of possible users. Without such design in mind, only true experts could benefit from the latest findings of successful scientists. If we truly want to achieve an IoT on a massive scale, this design should be more wide-spread.