We’ve seen small quadcopters before, even ones so small that you can carry them in your pocket. The Nixie does them one better by actually being wearable, strapping on your wrist for convenient portability when not in use.
More than being a super-compact drone, it’s programmed to function as a dedicated selfie machine. Any time it’s launched, the drone will automatically detect your presence and autonomously hover around your perimeter, filming your exploits full time (it comes with a camera built into the body), whether you’re rappelling down the side of a mountain, paddleboarding on the water, or just walking down the block, making it a more convenient alternative to auto-follow full-size drones.
When worn on the wrist, the Nixie looks like an odd-looking watch. It’s not exactly an eyesore, but you will look like you’ve got a hunk of plastic on there, with four propellers in a round dial on the other side. Once aloft, it looks like a typical quadcopter, albeit with slimmer airframe than what you’d normally find on the current generation of drones. It use an Intel Edison chip to process its surroundings, allowing it to follow you around while actively avoiding obstacles.
The bad news? It’s only at the conceptual prototype stage, with the main functionality still not baked in to the existing example. The good news? The team just scored 50 grand as a finalist in Intel’s Make it Wearable competition, along with all the design help and technical support the semiconductor company can offer, so they might actually realize the interesting product’s potential.