News / Calgary

Calgary engineers create 'pocket' drone with hi-def camera

The Cleo is set to debut at CES 2017

Omar Eleryan teases a design of the drone – the final version is ready, but under wraps until its global reveal.

Jennifer Friesen / Metro

Omar Eleryan teases a design of the drone – the final version is ready, but under wraps until its global reveal.

Drones – coming soon to a pocket on you.

Two Calgarian engineers – Omar Eleryan and Simon Czarnota – have created a camera-drone that fits inside a pocket and is controlled entirely by smartphone.

The Cleo drone has proven cool enough, that it’s been invited to make its international debut at one of the biggest consumer trade shows in the world – CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2017.

Eleryan hopes Cleo will be the first consumer-grade drone to be used widely – most drones are expensive, bulky and require a bit of practice to use them right, meaning it’s usually just hobbyists and professionals buying them.

“They’re large, intimating and potentially hard to fly,” stated Eleryan. “Drones need to be safer, smaller and easier to use.”

Instead of the usual quad-copter design, the Cleo uses a combination of helicopter and rocket technology – with two stacked blades – to achieve it’s small design.

It’s hooked up with a camera that shoots high definition.

“We think the possibilities of aerial photography for the masses is absolutely huge,” Eleryan said. “We’re very excited to see what content people come up with using a product like Cleo.”

To make things as simple as possible, users can set their camera mode with the click of an app. It can shoot up to make a 360 degree video, set up a panoramic shot, fly high in the sky to get a birds-eye video of you hiking or lift off the ground just high enough to capture the perfect selfie.

Eleryan hopes users will be creating home videos and finding more creative uses for the tech.

“Initially, we’re going to launch a camera drone,” he said. “But we think the possibilities for the technology itself go far beyond personal photography.”

Eventually, he wants the Cleo technology to break into home security and emergency response.

He envisions the drone being linked to a home alarm – if an intruder enters through a door or window, the drone will fly that way and start live streaming.

Or if can be fitted with infrared or thermal software, to help emergency responders like firefighters send the drone in, detect what rooms people are trapped in, and then know exactly where to go when they enter the building.

The main obstacle with that, however, is fitting obstacle avoidance technology in the small drone, which is a project for the future.

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