As if the world needed more items to put on our wrists, a startup company called Nixie (yes, another Nixie) is developing a wearable flying drone. This is all part of Intel’s “Make It Wearable” challenge, where the chip producer has challenged teams to produce a new wave of wearable technology. Nixie’s idea is to produce a small drone that can be wrapped on your wrist and taken with you.
The company is developing a few prototypes, and it is unclear what their future will be, though they do have a site up and are promising e-mail subscribers that they will be notified about future developments. I think there is a good chance that wearable Nixie drones will see actual production at some point in the future.
It is interesting from a watch lover’s perspective to see the wrist becoming a hot piece of real estate (once again) for gadget creators, and this is not even including the quickly emerging smartwatch world. The Nixie drone isn’t a watch, and as of now, it doesn’t tell the time (though I bet they could include a small LCD screen in the future). It is however part of a new universe of devices that may live on your wrist or elsewhere on your body. While wearable tech isn’t per se new, I think it will experience a new golden age over the next decade.
It should be stated that not all teams competing in Intel’s Make It Wearable challenge are producing items that go on your wrist. “Wearable” means anything on your body which could be your head, neck, waist, legs, etc… Wrists are, however, useful because they are not only easily accessible and viewable, but you can actually attach items to them. These traits are particularly attractive to tech innovators looking to creative useful items.
The idea of the Nixie drone is simple. Like many other quadracopter-style flyers, the drone has four arms with propellers on each of them. The central element contains a rotating camera, as well as a control board and battery. This is the type of item that will have only a few minutes of total battery life (most likely), but will be very useful for a range of purposes. Nixie touts the wearable drone as a new way to take selfies, but its potential is far beyond that.
Imagine the utility of an easy-to-carry drone that can be your eyes in the sky while exploring or hiking. The downside of most current drones isn’t their utility, but their size. It makes it difficult to carry for when you need it or in any type of travel scenario. A fold-up drone that can be used for fun or safety would be really useful. There are already very small drones available, but adding a wearable component to them could be really interesting.
Kids are also going to love things like the wearable Nixie drone. Nothing is more appealing than an already cool toy that doubles as a wearable. Ironically the term “nixie” is already something watch lovers are familiar with, but in a different context. It refers to nixie tubes, which have actually been integrated into timepieces and clocks in the past, and likely the future as well.
The Nixie wearable drone is controlled by your phone and, interestingly enough, started out as a different type of wearable – something that you put on your face like glasses. I agree that putting it on your wrist as a wearable band makes a lot more sense. If Nixie wins the Intel Make It Wearable competition, they will get another $500,000 to make their product a reality… and perhaps people can then start working on flying timepieces.