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DreamQii's Plexidrone for Filmmakers

Swarm control, autonomous flight and more from the brand's latest drone

by Greg Stefano in Tech on 01 October 2014

Aerial Photography, Aerial Video, Design, Tools, Drones, Films

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Drones have been a hot topic recently—and rightfully so. Outside of the dialogue surrounding the legality of buzzing around New York City or National Parks, the new generation of affordable and feature-packed quad-copters are enormously powerful tools for filmmakers. We recently used one on the Bonneville Speedway in Utah to grab some great aerial footage that, 10 years ago, would have been cost prohibitive. Today, Toronto-based DreamQii is announcing the release of their Plexidrone, a unique addition to the marketplace that addresses many of the issues found in other consumer models.

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Despite their common toy-like appearances, all the drones we have used are sensitive and fragile devices. Traveling with them is difficult without a specific container—which tends to be a large flight case. This isn't an issue for most, but if the idea of checking a bag is less than appealing, the Plexidrone solution for keeping the product compact will surely impress. The arms of the drone snap on and off, making it extremely easy to pack into the company's custom hard backpack or just about any suitcase. This feature also shows DreamQii's insight into the drone user experience. Having simple, replaceable modular arms makes it easy to keep the drone functional in the event of a crash—if its arm is destroyed, users can pop in a new one.

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The two most desirable features of the Plexidrone are its ability to swarm with other Plexidrone's and to follow live waypoints. The PlexiHub is a bluetooth-enabled device that essentially acts as a drone router, letting the drones talk to each other, thus giving the user control over multiple drones simultaneously. This is a great tool for capturing multiple aerial angles at the same time. With the Plexidrone app, users can set waypoints for the drone to follow autonomously, but even more interesting is the ability of the drone to trail the user. Simply fire up your smartphone and start moving and the drone will follow you as your phone automatically sends it waypoints.

The remaining features balance what many would expect from a thoughtful prosumer tool with a few fun, offbeat additions. It can utilize multiple types of cameras, has an interchangeable stabilizing gimbal mount and offers the ability to program in your own custom audio for powering up or down and when achieving a GPS lock.

The Plexidrone will begin shipping in the spring of 2015 with pricing ranging from $479-$899, depending on the kit and how early the purchase is made.

Images courtesy of DreamQii

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Story + Cool Hunting: Pitch Night 2014

Join us in-person to present your big breakthrough idea for the chance to be included in our online gift guide and at the Chelsea concept shop

by CH Editors in Design on 01 October 2014

Announcements, Competitions, Design, Events, Gift Guide, NYC, Story, Craft, Makers

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If you are a designer or maker able to spend an evening in NYC and have a product ready to sell, we at Cool Hunting want to see it. After two successful iterations, Rachel Shechtman of editorial concept shop STORY and the team at Cool Hunting are once again partnering for Pitch Night: an in-person open call for the chance to have your product included in our online gift guide and STORY's holiday concept store.

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Two Pitch Night alumni will also be in attendance, and both reflect the value of the program. Last year we discovered Will Berman, whose raw denim collection was included in the Cool Hunting gift guide and later showcased on PSFK. The previous year, local jewelry designer Beth Macri wowed Shechtman so much, her customizable necklaces are often included in various editions of STORY. Their experiences and insight offer added value to a night of expert feedback and potential opportunities.

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This year's Pitch Night will begin at 6pm on 9 October 2014 (map). Interested participants should RSVP in advance to secure a space. Each confirmed guest will have three minutes to tell their story, and should come prepared with product samples, line sheets and any additional relevant information. Upon arrival, time slots will be issued for pitching, and the interim allows for mingling among other creators and buyers, as well as trying the special Pitch Night cocktails, which will be crafted by NYC's Hella Bitter.

Images by Cool Hunting

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Indoor Cycling meets Entertainment with Zwift

The global multiplayer environment integrates exercise with game play

by Hans Aschim in Tech on 01 October 2014

Cycling, Indoor Cycling, Sports, Training, Bike Accessories, Bikes, Fitness Entertainment, Video Games

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Whether it's the dropping of temperatures, shortening of days or just plain lack of free-time, hitting the road for a lengthy ride isn't always in the cards. While indoor trainers for stationary riding continue to advance, giving cyclists more detailed data on their rides, the problem of sight still persists—staring at the wall or television gets old pretty quick. The newly launched fitness-entertainment platform Zwift promises to make indoor riding more exciting than ever before. Combining a social network with a video game engine, the platform creates a virtual world for riders from around the globe to meet on digital versions of famous rides to battle head-to-head in real time.

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The key to Zwift, is that it won't require a massive hardware investment for those already spinning indoors. All you'll need to get started is a bike, trainer (though a smart trainer will provide a more elaborate experience, a basic model will do) and a cadence/speed sensor. Combine this with an ANT+ dongle, your tablet/phone and a monitor and you're ready to hit the (digital) road. Even in beta, the new program has a quick response time to movement on the bike and makes indoor riding seem like less of a chore for those looking to stay fit over the cooler months.

Access to the software starts at $10 per month with additional fees for add-on features and special events (Tour de France anyone?). With 1000 spots open, the global launch of Zwift beta is now underway with a full-scale version release planned for early 2015.

Image by Hans Aschim, screenshot courtesy of Zwift

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