Forget about your selfie stick


Photo by Maria Bruun-Schmidt / Xpress Magazine


Film your exercise with a flying go pro!

A drone has just left the ground.

It’s rising with steady speed while singing like a gigantic bumblebee that also has characteristics of a drone.

In San Francisco, Dolores Park is turned into a spin-off of Big Brother, where the drone follows all the activity in the park from above; athletic women attempting to hula hoop, the dog owners in the corner, the line for the bathroom, and the couples kissing in the grass.

One man is monitoring it all. He is controlling the drone with a remote controller, although it looks a lot like he is playing a PlayStation.

Antoine Level is a passionate entrepreneur from France, who is making a demo of he and his French colleagues’ newly developed flying camera, HEXO+, a camera that follows and films you autonomously. When you attach a GoPro camera to the drone and set your framing in the HEXO+ app, you are ready to film from the sky.

“A lot of people use it for sports – running, skiing, skateboarding – you name it. In that way you can record you active moments – whether it is to capture the moment or to see how you can e.g. improve your running style. It is giving new perspectives to a go-pro camera,” said Level, who is the CEO of HEXO+.

The company was founded in August 2013. Last summer, HEXO+ was completely funded in one hour during their Kickstarter campaign, and in one month the HEXO+ raised $1,306,920 from 2236 people, according to the tech-blog ProVideo Coalition.

The final product will be available in May 2015.

“There are possibilities for us here in US because of the great context between the product we develop and the American market,” said Level.

Meanwhile changes can, and will, always be made. The HEXO+ developers would like to improve the flying GoPro in the future.

“We would like to adjust the size of the drone so it gets smaller – and easier to work with on outdoor adventures,” said Medhi Mugnier, the digital project manager of HEXO+.

Level bends down to activate the GoPro camera on the drone in front of his feet. He gets up again, pulls his phone out, enlarges the image on the screen, then hands me the phone.

Suddenly the deep sound from the drone increases. It’s right behind me. I start to run. The drone follows my every step. It can fly with a speed of up to 42 mph. I make a spontaneously turn – and another one – the drone follows while I’m running in circles around Dolores Park. Turns out, it is not following me, but the GPS on the iPhone that’s in my hands.

I’ve only just completed the circle around the park before the drone is yelling: “Low on battery.” I stopped at my starting point, yet the drone continued – with a steady pace – right into a big tree nearby.

Level looks at HEXO+ that is lodged in a tree. Photo by Maria Bruun-Schmidt/ Xpress Magazine
Level looks at HEXO+ that is lodged in a tree. Photo by Maria Bruun-Schmidt/ Xpress Magazine

“That was not planned,” said Level. He then ran toward the drone, which was hanging in a tree. Nearly 15 minutes pass before Level, and a group of others, manage to shake the drone out of the branches.

“That happens, I guess we have to charge it next time we fly with it,” said Level.

To find more visit the HEXO+ webpage.