LAS VEGAS - Oh, the noble quest for the perfect selfie. Perhaps it is out of arm's reach, because it's in the sky. Meet the Zano, a camera-equipped drone barely bigger than a person's hand, and designed to let users take high-quality photos that even a selfie stick can't reach.
Currently in the last few hours of a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, the Zano also appeared at CES 2015. Kickstarter backers will get their Zano drones this June. Even after the Kickstarter ends, the Zano will be available for purchase for less than $300.
The Zano is steered via an iOS or Android app, and connects to the smartphone via Wi-Fi with a range of about 50 to 100 feet. The drone features a 5-megapixel HD video camera that can take both still photos and 720p video at 30 frames per second.
The captured video and photos are saved to an onboard SD card (not included with a Zano) and streamed in real time to the mobile device, where users can opt to upload them to a cloud storage service hosted by parent company Torquing. Each purchased Zano will come with some storage space, and in the cloud users can also opt to digitally enhance their photos with image stabilization techniques. From the cloud, you can upload straight to Facebook or other social media.
Beneath the camera is a board of LED lights that can act as a flash, a timer or display other patterns users wish to preset.
Currently, the Zano gets about 10 to 15 minutes of battery life, but a representative told me they're looking at ways to possibly boost that in time for its launch. It recharges via a microUSB outlet.
Jill Scharr is a staff writer for Tom's Guide, where she regularly covers security, 3D printing and video games. You can email Jill at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter @JillScharrand on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.