Just like selifes, selfie sticks have become a fact of life, despite being ridiculed, banned, or even branded as very lethal contraptions. Since selfies are probably never going away now, we might as well try to make taking them a whole lot safer. And what can be safer than having a robot take the selfie for you. And by robot, we mean a fully automated, unmanned, flying robot. In other words, a drone. ROAM-e just happens to be one of the latest in a new fleet of drones whose purpose in life is nothing more than to recognize and follow your face everywhere.
Unlike most drones that have more or less horizontally oriented bodies, ROAM-e is vertically oriented and takes on a more or less cylindrical form. IoT Group, the company behind the drone describes it as similar to a 600 ml water bottle in size. The wings fold in against its body, making it easy to stash inside a bag. Or a very large pocket.
ROAM-e doesn’t have too much fanciness in terms of flight capabilities. It can hover in the air at a fixed point when needed and launches when simply flung into the air. Its really capability, however, is facial recognition. An accompanying iOS or Android app setups the initial facial recognition as well as the maximum distance the drone should keep from you. After that, all you need to do is keep your face in view of its single-axis camera and your good for selfies. And in case you turn away or it loses track of you, it just keeps flying on the same spot until you return.
The camera takes stills in 5 megapixel sizes. It can also do video recording though quality hasn’t been revealed yet. The rechargeable and removable battery gives 20 minutes of flight time for a full 2 hours of charging. Retail price for the drone is marked at $349.
Given the crackdown on drones, the ROAM-e probably won’t be less controversial than a selfie stick. Plus, it isn’t something that you will probably be allowed to fly indoors. Unfortunately, until someone invents a truly safe yet functional alternative, that won’t also burn a hole in your wallet, selfie sticks will undoubtedly be around for a very long time.