This Tiny Pocket Drone Flies for Two Hours With a Thin Wire Tether

By Andrew Liszewski on at

Living in a mostly wireless world is a fantastic experience: were it not for constant connectivity issues, competing wireless protocols, limited ranges, and terrible battery life. That last issue is of particular concern for tiny reconnaissance drones like this hexcopter from Cyphy that work best when remaining aloft for hours. So its creators decided to skip squeezing a tiny battery onboard, and instead keep it tethered with a long invisible wire.

The thought of having your smartphone perpetually tethered to a power source is a terrible idea, no matter how awful your handset's battery life might be. But here it's actually a pretty clever idea. The micro filament that keeps this drone tethered to a base station is considerably thinner than a headphone cord, and it not only provides a limitless supply of power when the controller is connected to a permanent power source, it also allows the tiny drone to send back hi-res HD video without lag or stutters.

It also makes the tiny hexcopter completely unhackable, because there's no wireless signals to intercept or compromise. The tiny pocket-sized drone actually carries a spool (about the size of a quarter) of about 76 metres (250 feet) of the micro-filament tether onboard itself, which it feeds out as it moves forward, ensuring the wire doesn't get snagged along the way which would limit its progress.

With a fully functioning prototype under its belt, the folks at Cyphy Works are currently in development of a production version of the drone. But don't get too excited about getting your hands on one yet. The company is actually working to develop the drone for military use, giving soldiers a safe and compact reconnaissance tool they can easily carry as part of their standard kit. [Cyphy Works via IEEE Spectrum]