WowWee Lumi Drone Wants to Play with the Family

The WowWee Lumi Gaming Drone is almost ready to dance, film and play its way into your home. The Indiegogo for the quadcopter launches today (May 3), with the $59 starter pack, which comes with two extra batteries and an extra set of blades. Once it's available for retail sale, the Lumi Gaming Drone's price will likely jump to $79.99.

The Lumi, first teased at CES 2016 in Las Vegas, is intended as an indoor toy for the whole family (ages 8 and up). The white body features several different color lights on top with four rotors that are surrounded by propeller guards, so small fingers won't get a nasty surprise. The drone pairs with iOS or Android devices over Bluetooth LE. But it also relies on its companion "beacon," which can be attached to your phone or tablet.

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The drone uses various sensors to help it avoid walls, doors and other common household items. It can even spot hands and react, which you can turn into a game on its own. The BeaconSense Technology, developed by WowWee, uses infrared lights to stabilize itself in the air. The Follow-Me feature also uses BeaconSense, making it easy to have the drone keep up with you.

The Gamified Flight app features several gaming modes, including Lumi to the Beat which works in conjunction with any song stored on your phone or tablet. The drone will expect you to move to the beat while holding the controller; you'll also have to tap the color on the screen that corresponds to the lights on the top of the drone. As long as you can keep up, the drone stays airborne. It seems like a mix of Drone Drone Revolution and Simon.

The Multi-Drone Play requires two Lumis and a friend, and the drones must be within 13 feet of each other. Choreography Mode lets you set a specific series of aerial maneuvers, while also controlling the timing of each and the lights on the drone. In Auto Dance mode, the Lumi will sense the beat of the music and flash LED lights in time with the tune.

The drone should last for 8 minutes of flight time, depending on the tricks you're performing. WowWee says it should take 30 to 40 minutes to recharge. Additional batteries will be available for purchase. The Beacon requires a AAA battery, which is not included. It is not clear if you'll need to register the Lumi because of its weight; since the drone is intended for indoor use, where registration isn't necessary, it may be a moot point.

On its Indiegogo page, WowWee says that the first batch of Lumi Gaming Drones will be delivered in August of this year. The Lumi is expected to hit retail shelves in September. Stay tuned for our full review.

Anna Attkisson
Anna Attkisson is the editorial director at Tom's IT Pro. After getting infected with the tech bug at Wireless World and Cellular Business magazines as an intern in 1998, Anna Attkisson went on to dabble in a sorts of publications covering everything from children’s fashion to cars. During the last 9 years she’s returned to her roots where she’s been writing and editing for Laptop Mag and Tom’s Guide, before moving on to Tom’s IT Pro. Follow Anna Attkisson at @akattkisson.