Gadgets

Someone Has Invented A Drone On A Lead And It’s Surprisingly Awesome

Contrary to sweat-inducing headlines and incredibly strict laws, drones are brilliant fun. They're just a bit fiddly to control if you possess the coordination skills of a toddler. 

That's where the Fotokite Phi comes in - a new areal photography drone that does away with touch screen controllers and joysticks, in preference for a simple kite-like string control.

Designed by a Zurich-based tech startup, the Fotokite Phi requires a GoPro and a general spacial awareness ("Best avoid that tree... and those power lines"). Folding down into a neat carry tube, the Phi can be deployed in minutes and is controlled by a smart 'leash'. 

Point the Phi in the direction you want it to fly and it'll soar into the sky, keeping constant tension on the leash. From your tether, you're able to shorten and lengthen the control line and direct the Phi to turn in circles. Should you let go, it'll power down rather than flying off into the sunset.

The Fotokite team also claims the Phi uses 'safe propellers', which don't spin fast enough to do any nasty damage in the case of a collision (though we wouldn't fancy getting one in the eye). The design also means it's practical for indoor and outdoor use, and can follow its 'pilot' on vehicles such as a bike.

Currently available on IndieGoGo for £160, the first Fotokite Phis should arrive in March 2016. 

Here's hoping personal drones haven't been banned by then...