About this project
C-mi (see-me) is the first camera drone designed with real world usability in mind.
- Stowable: Its frame is designed to pack easily in a small case or backpack.
- All-Weather: Its structure and built-in camera housing are designed for all weather use.
- Integrated Flight and Camera Controller: C-mi's digital user interface has been designed so that you can easily control the flyer, dynamically change the camera modes and view live video during flight, and directly share images and video - all from a single app.
C-mi evolved from our frustration that despite there being many small drones on the market, none of them combine all the features you need to make them easily usable. Either the drone is too big to easily store or the gimbaled camera mount is exposed, delicate and victim to the elements. As important, while some drones feature complex shot framing tools, they can't show you live previews!
Even the most "integrated" systems require you to carry several different devices to set behavior and monitor live feed video. The dream of the perfect flying action camera becomes lost in multiple controllers, inability to easily check what you're shooting and cumbersome equipment to lug to your filming site.
It doesn't have to be this way!
Enter C-mi. The first drone designed to easily transport to cool locations and that you can seamlessly control from a single mobile app. You can capture and share your images and videos with a touch of a button - it's that simple.
Equipped with its own 1080p HD camera in a protective case and on a high-precision gimbal, you'll capture smooth impressive video. The camera housing automatically extends down from the flyer at takeoff and tucks away upon landing - no snagging during packing or crunching on rocks when landing. The camera enclosure also makes it weather-resistant. Don't let a little snow, rain or desert dust ruin your fun.
C-mi has multiple flight modes built into the software. You can pilot C-mi manually, but the flyer really shines in its various automated modes. Just tell C-mi where you want it and it will maintain that position wherever you go. With GPS and camera feature tracking built in, you can change camera targets seamlessly during flight. Direct your own multi-character movie!
C-mi makes sharing painless with its built in network. C-mi can support multiple interacting GPS target devices, relay data between multiple C-mi vehicles, and share footage directly to the cloud and social media. You get to focus on the imagery you want to capture, not how to fly or manage the system.
C-mi takes advantage of having multiple sensors – including the camera system – wired directly into its "nervous system." High level processing allows camera targeting based on:
- fixed orientation;
- GPS tracking from the control app, target apps, and custom C-mi remotes; and
- feature tracking within the C-mi camera feed.
C-mi is fundamentally designed to be modular. The high-level image processing and flight behavior is separated from the low-level flight control, and multiple C-mi flyers can be networked into a larger, modular swarm. However, this modularity also extends to the vehicle structure.
C-mi's six arms attach and detach from the core module for easy transport and storage. Taking advantage of this design feature, the core C-mi module has been built from the ground-up for plug-interchangeability with future heavier-duty six and eight arm configurations that can carry compact and DSLR cameras.
C-mi is designed to make it easy to focus on what you want to capture. It does this by packaging a wide range of flight and camera behaviors into a number of intuitive flight modes, all easily selectable from C-mi's mobile app graphical user interface.
If you want to create the perfect selfie, you can have C-mi stay in position and track you as you approach. If you want to add a richer element to the selfie, you can have C-mi orbit you creating a 360 degree panoramic backdrop. C-mi can also follow along with you from any angle. Create a video game-like 3rd person view from behind, a reporter-style moving context shot, or shoot the ideal ride along view from the side. If you want to direct your own multi-character movie, C-mi can track multiple GPS targets with the same framing options.
C-mi provides three main modes that control the flyer and camera from your tablet or smartphone. All three modes are easy to configure using the intuitive iOS and Android apps.
Simply select C-mi's relative position and the camera viewing angle. C-mi will follow you maintaining its position. C-mi's camera will automatically and continually adjust its aim to keep you in the center of view. C-mi will follow you at speeds up to 40 mph.
C-mi is designed to be able to orbit your position or to sit in one fixed location with the camera tracking you as you "orbit" around C-mi.
C-mi Orbits You: C-mi will fly a circular path around you. If you point the camera at you, C-mi will place you in the center of a panorama.
You Orbit C-mi: C-mi will stay in one position but the camera will continue to track you. This setting is perfect for putting C-mi in the center of the action.
Pano: C-mi will hover and take a panoramic video. You can easily select C-mi to rotate clockwise or counter clockwise to produce stunning 360 degree panoramic shots - or create a single 360 panoramic image.
Whether you're a novice or an experienced remote control (RC) pilot, you’ll love C-mi’s manual flight modes. You can draw flight paths relative to C-mi's current location using a simple map pane within the app. C-mi also provides a simulated "twin sticks" option on top of the live feed video. You can even let C-mi hold altitude while you enjoy "first person view" (FPV) flying.
Low Battery / Return Home: C-mi is smart enough to automatically return to the mobile device when it senses the battery is running low. You can also ask it to return at any time during flight by simply pressing a button in the app.
Pause / Panic Button: We hope you don't need it, but it's always nice to know you have a big "pause" button. If anything is going wrong, simply hit pause and C-mi will stop and hold position.
Director Mode: Easily switch focus between multiple C-mi GPS trackers and smartphones.
The C-mi User Interface has been designed to be intuitive and simple to use. Before flight, the UI allows you to easily setup the flight and camera viewing modes. During flight you can easily switch between the live camera and map views, and also change the flight or camera mode.
We’ll always be adding new flight modes and UI improvements through firmware and app updates based on user feedback to continually improve C-mi.
Smartphone Precision: We developed our software so that a smartphone can be used as a precise camera tracker.
In Unit Camera System: C-mi's integrated, weather resistant, HD camera system extends at takeoff and retracts when landing.
Remote Audio Capture: Record synchronized audio from your smartphone device while C-mi is recording video from above.
Share Instantly to Social Media: Our app makes it simple to share your C-mi video on major social media platforms.
Wireless Data Transferring: Easily move images and videos that are saved onboard C-mi to your laptop with no wires.
Portability and Storage: C-mi's removable arms makes it easy to take anywhere and quick to get into the air.
Brushless 2-Axis Gimbal: C-mi's gimbaled camera provides precise targeting and shake-free video.
GPS Tracker: Use our GPS tracker so you can have C-mi follow where you might not want your mobile device to go. Track your friend while they're swimming or surfing!
Swappable Battery Pack: Run out of power on your battery? No problem, just swap in another C-mi Battery and you're ready to fly again in seconds! With the C-mi Quick Swap Battery Packs you can fly and film longer. Don't let your filming get interrupted, just swap it, snap it , and keep flying!
Rapid Battery Charger: With the C-mi Rapid Charger you can easily charge batteries in minutes. Charge at home or on the go with our car adaptor.
A Modular Multirotor Brain
C-mi is driven by a modular flight control system. A higher level processor deals with computationally heavy but less time-critical tasks such as imaging processing, communications, and high level flight behaviors. Below this high level system is our own flight processor, the AshimaCore. The flight processor has much faster and more direct access to "twitch" sensor feedback from its gyro and accelerometer sensors, much as your brain is fast wired to the balance sensors in your inner ear. Sitting beneath the AshimaCore are dedicated controllers that make sure the motors spin at the required speed.
"I love how easy C-mi is to use! I was nervous that I would have trouble controlling it but it basically does all the hard work for me."
"C-mi has been able to get me awesome footage that normally is not possible unless someone is filming off a pier. This is much safer and I have more control of my shots."
Capturing incredible shots from an aerial perspective has never been easier! Gain an edge over the competition with GPS Follow Modes and real-time camera control right from your smartphone! Do you have a hobby or business that can benefit from an aerial point of view?
Capture your life events from a totally new perspective! Just imagine a C-mi following you down the ski hill or capturing every inch of your climb. C-mi will autonomously capture your breath taking adventure from every angle!
Fly for fun and experience the world from a birds eye view. Save and share your experience with friends and loved ones! C-mi lets you experience life from above and unlocks the stunning sights this world has to offer.
Our primary need is to get the production volumes up in order to get the price down and to support the development of features! A larger initial run on the C-mi flyers will help us to smoothly deal with the inevitable small issues that occur in plastics injection, PCB fabrication, vehicle assembly and testing.
A portion of the funds from the Kickstarter campaign will allow us to hire additional engineers, software developers, app developers, product developers, and customer interface staff. All of this will makes it easier for us to assimilate your feedback, roll out earlier beta test units, and to incorporate your design feedback into C-mi. The overall goal is to deliver a superior product with even more capability.
*Saving based on estimated retailed price of $1,499 for complete kit including GPS Tracker.
Testing algorithms and flight behavior on our Hex 550 frames:
We will ship C-mi worldwide, with the exception of Argentina, Belarus, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Myanmar/Burma, North Korea, Russia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Please note that you will be responsible for duties, fees, and taxes applicable to your region.
Each reward tier may have a different estimated shipment month. While we do not expect these to change, it is possible that the estimated shipment month may shift..
Risks and challenges
While we have been around since 2011, we grew significantly within the last year. So at our current size, we're a relatively new company. Despite this, our engineers have extensive experience in hardware and software design across several different kinds of UAV flight systems, and we have been working on C-mi for over a year. The core development team has extensive experience from spacecraft and NASA-related projects over the last couple of decades, including working on missions to Mars and Venus.
We know from looking at other crowd funded efforts and from our prior, much smaller scope Kickstarter project in 2013 that development slips can be significant, especially in the manufacturing process. We have taken several steps to try and alieviate this problem. Firstly, we intentionally worked much deeper through the development cycle of this project before releasing it to Kickstarter than either our prior flight control system project or many competitor flyer / drone projects. We are very sensitive to the number of people who have been waiting for drone Kickstarter projects that promised the world and have not yet delivered. Secondly, we established a much deeper and larger team of engineers across the range of required disciplines a year ago - we are aware of the dangers of getting the concept sold with the idea that we'd staff up once the funds come in. Assembling the right team is crucial from the start. Finally, we have developed deep relationships with our plastics, PCB, and motor vendors, having been through the full cycle of prototype development with each more than once.
The other significant thing we have done is to try and set realistic delivery deadlines. There is always the tendency to want to set "success oriented schedules." If everything works great, we could ship sooner! While we understand that our backers want their C-mi flyers as soon as possible, we know from our prior fabrication experiences that things will go wrong along the way. One thing can slip and domino into another if you do not have appropriate schedule margin. Quality is always the first thing to suffer in these cases. And while we are very confident we can deliver C-mi before the holidays, there are always unforeseen challenges, or small changes that could cause delays.
Thank you so much for supporting C-mi! We are dedicated to keeping you informed on the status of our progress with at least monthly updates. We are committed to being transparent and keeping C-mi fans and Kickstarter backers informed and up-to-date.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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