About this project
It's autonomous. It's intelligent. It swarms. It takes selfies??
ZANO is an ultra-portable, personal aerial photography and HD video capture platform, Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and intelligent enough to fly all by itself! ZANO connects directly to your smart device (iOS or Android) via onboard WiFi and enables you to instantly begin capturing and sharing moments like never before.
"When we began work on ZANO, our goal was to make aerial photography and video capture truly accessible to everyone. This meant making ZANO small and lightweight, yet durable enough to take with you anywhere. Intelligent enough so no piloting skills were required, and most of all, pricing ZANO at a point that makes it affordable." Reece Crowther, Head of Marketing
"Right out of the box you can begin capturing and sharing stunning aerial photographs and videos, with absolutely no complex flight training required." - Ivan Reedman, Head of Research and Development.
A plethora of sensors work seamlessly together to allow ZANO to avoid obstacles, hold its position and know exactly where it is in conjunction with your smart device, at all times.
This means ZANO operates on a virtual tether connected to your smart device. Allowing for simple gesture control of ZANO. Tilt your phone or tablet left or right, forward or backward and ZANO will follow. (ZANO can also be utilised in "Free Flight" mode, using on-screen Joy Sticks). On screen slide bars control rotation and altitude. ZANO will hold its position unless instructed otherwise (In both "Capture" mode as well as "Free Flight" mode), which allows for maximum control and creative freedom without the burden of piloting ZANO.
If ZANO senses it's strayed too far from your smart device or is running low on battery, it will automatically return to your smart device.
Operating on a virtual tether also enables "Follow me" capability in ZANO. Which means once you set ZANO's hold position, it will register the distance it is from your smart device. You can choose for ZANO to hold this position or enable a "Follow me" feature, which will instruct ZANO to constantly maintain that distance from your smart device and follow you whilst avoiding any obstacles that may get it in the way during flight.
An extended view of ZANO in action!
- Revolutionary Intelligent Flight and Autonomous Operation, complete with Obstacle Avoidance - Don't fly it. Task it!
- Lightweight and Durable. Conveniently take ZANO with you wherever you may go.
- Instant image and video sharing capability to social networks.
- Digital Image Stabilisation - For clear and precise image and video capture.
- Safe - Failsafe software features ensures ZANO will always return to your mobile device if it feels its strayed too far, is losing signal or is running low on battery. ZANO will never leave your line of sight!
- Free Flight Mode - Have complete control of ZANO with on screen Joy-Sticks, while still capturing and sharing photos and videos.
ZANO comes complete with a removable battery feature! This means a user can carry multiple charged batteries, and when ZANO is starting to run low on juice, simply bring ZANO home, pull the battery out, put a charged battery in and you’re back flying in no time!
ZANO’s battery can be charged whilst it is docked inside ZANO via a standard MicroUSB connection, and with a simple adapter ZANO’s batteries can be charged whilst outside of ZANO.
Every ZANO pledge reward above and including £139 will come complete with 1 x spare battery for our Kickstarter backers.
- 6.5cm x 6.5 cm (2.5" x 2.5")
- on board MicroSD cradle
- 1 x Spare battery
- 55 grams in weight (1.94 oz)
- 5 megapixel HD video camera
- IR obstacle avoidance
- Echo sounding sonar and high resolution air pressure sensor for altitude control
- 32bit 330DMIPS processor
- 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz WIFI connectivity
- 2w Class D Audio Amplifier
- High sensitivity onboard digital microphone
- Unlimited colour RGB 8*8 pixel front display supporting animations, icons etc - Which doubles as a camera flash!
- Unlimited colour RGB landing lights
- Bidirectional motor control (Zano can drive motors in either direction)
- iOS and Android compatible
- 10 - 15 minute continuous intelligent flight time. (Weather dependent)
- 15 - 30 meter optimal operating range. (Smart device and regional legislation dependent.)
- 25 mph top speed
- Durable and Lightweight design.
- Digital Image/Video Stabilisation for clear and precise images and video capture.
- Easy-Access Charging Port complete with removable battery. Charge multiple batteries and carry with you so your ZANO never runs out of juice!
We've designed ZANO with all the hardware already built in, to allow for a multitude of additional capability to be added in the future (See stretch goals, some of these may be available upon Kickstarter launch!). So not only will you receive the world's most sophisticated nano aerial photography and video platform, you will also receive a product that will continuously evolve without the need to upgrade your hardware!
Additional features we will be developing include:
- Tracking of a set target through image processing. ("Follow me" capability is available right away through ZANO's Virtual Tether operation.)
- Facial recognition capability
- 360 and 180 degree Panoramics
- Instant imaging editing suite (Image filters, adding text, audio, etc.)
- Custom LED Pixel Art creation
- Swarming capability! A user will be able to control multiple ZANO’s from one device, this will enable photographs and video of the same event from Multiple Vantage Points.
The ZANO App will allow for "In-App" purchase of new and exciting functionality and capability for ZANO hardware, as we develop it. Eg. When we release an acrobatic capability for ZANO, this will be offered to you through the ZANO app as an "In-App" purchase.
Note: All of our Kickstarter backers will receive 12 months free capability updates.
ZANO's Limited Edition Zipper Clam Shell carry case, will be made using the Thermoforming technique of premium quality foam and material. Offering a light weight yet durable protective carrying solution for your ZANO.
"We want to create a "Limited Edition" carry case to commemorate ZANO's launch on Kickstarter. This carry case is to be limited to 1000 pieces only, and will never be reproduced. This case will be made from premium quality materials and will include a docking station for your ZANOfuel charging stick as well as for a spare battery." - Reece Crowther
A "Standard" carry case is also available at a price of £25, which you can add to your early-bird pledge! Its in a similar "clam shell" style of the limited edition case. The materials are a little less fancy, however, this will still provide an ultra lightweight yet durable protective carrying solution for your ZANO.
See below an image of ZANOfuel connected to ZANO via MicroUSB charging port featured on ZANO. (The image of ZANO in this shot was intended to not only depict ZANOfuel and how it connects to charge ZANO via MicroUSB, but also our give an insight to how ZANO looks without any shell or motors! Pretty neat huh? Double sided, stacked PCB's.)
ZANOfuel: Will charge ZANO's battery in less than 30 minutes, 4 to 5 times per charge of the stick. 2200mAh.
Want to charge other devices from your ZANOfuel? No problems. ZANOfuel comes complete with a detachable charging cable! To give you mobile device charging freedom!
ZANOfuel comes complete with the £189 pledge reward for the Limited Edition Carry Case. ZANOfuel is not available at any other pledge levels. Again ZANOfuel is intended to be limited to 1,000 pieces to commemorate ZANO's launch on Kickstarter!
All pledge levels above and including £139 will receive 1 x spare battery with their pledge reward, including the £189 pledge level reward.
£125,000 - We make ZANO! The Autonomous and Intelligent Aerial Photography and Video Platform. Complete with Obstacle avoidance, Hold position, Follow-Me and Gesture based operation capabilities. Digital image stabilisation for clear and precise photos and video capture. Instant social networking uploads.
£250,000 - All of the above. Plus 360 degree and 180 degree aerial panoramic shots.
£750,000 - All of the above. Plus Track and Video Capture a target through image processing.
£1,000,000 - All of the above. Plus ZANO Image Editing suite. Add image filters, music, text, voice recordings to your ZANO images and videos! Also we create the Custom LED Pixel Art creation suite. We will also make the ZANO SDK available upon launch! We will also have MicroSD ready firmware! (The hardware will already be on board!)
£2,000,000 - We enable all of the above and Swarming capability! Control multiple ZANO's from the one device. Perfect for capturing moments from multiple vantage points!
We see limitless development potential for ZANO and we want you to be a part of it. That’s why we have decided to create a ZANO SDK. The ZANO SDK will be available upon launch if we reach our £1,000,000 stretch goal.
The ZANO SDK will be an incredibly well documented API, that will allow developers to task ZANO in the same way the ZANO app operates.
A forum will be available to assist developers.
Ivan Reedman began breaking ground on autonomous, intelligent, swarming Nano UAV's in 2010. Starting with a 240mm x 240mm UAV, Ivan and his team of highly skilled engineers and developers at Torquing Group worked tirelessly to continue to reduce the size of this UAV technology, without impacting on its capabilities. Initially targeting the defence, industrial and law enforcement markets, the idea for a consumer version of this Nano UAV technology was first raised in October 2013 at the weekly Torquing Group team meeting. The team felt they were finally ready for the challenge to get this technology out to the consumer and make aerial photography and video capture truly accessible to anyone with a smart device. ZANO was born and the race was on to get this sophisticated technology to market affordably.
Since then we have been working relentlessly to bring this technology to the consumer market. We first designed the development environments (DEV Boards) in October 2013 (which is essentially all the vital components on one big PCB), so we could test that each of the electronic components would work as expected and meet the strict requirements we knew we had to meet in order to make ZANO possible. We selected components we knew we could not only eventually fit on a board 65mm x 65mm PCB board (with some skilful PCB layout) but also were readily available and at a low enough cost to meet the tight budget we had for each unit. Once we had selected all the vital components and our DEV boards were ready, we got to writing the firmware, an assortment of digital filters, complex mathematics routines, data fusing algorithms, video handling, obstacle avoidance and signal processing to allow for these components to work seamlessly together to achieve autonomous, intelligent flight. Many a sleepless night went by developing, until we were happy that we had selected all the correct components to bring ZANO to market affordably with all the functionality we wanted it to have.
Enter March 2014 and we have our first 65mm x 65mm ZANO prototype PCB ready to rumble. Naturally, there were a few minor issues. However, we were encouraged enough with the progress we had made, we decided to commit our resources to going full speed ahead with ZANO. Revisions were made to the PCB and sent back for prototyping and we began conceptualising the user experience and designing the graphics for the GUI.
June 2014, and we're finally happy with the PCB layout and that all components are working together in cohesion. We can begin to design the ZANO aesthetic. As a consumer device, Head of Design, Thomas Dietrich (12 years experience in the Royal Air Force) knew ZANO's aesthetic had to ooze sophistication. Yet on a device so small, size and weight are of the absolute essence. How do you make a device look great with such narrow design parameters? Thomas and his team set about for the next 3 months designing ZANO's aesthetic. A sleek, sophisticated shell that fuses functionality with durability.
With all the vital components selected and our PCB layout complete. It was now time to find an EMS (electronic manufacturing service) with premium quality manufacturing capability, yet with prices low enough to maintain affordability. As a British company it was important for us to explore all options on our home turf prior to sending the production overseas. October 2014, the search was finally over and we were able to find the EMS partner we were looking for in the UK, to handle the initial production orders.
So, November 2014, where are we?
ZANO's aesthetic is complete and we have selected our plastics manufacturing company.
Our supply chain is 100% ready to go, from vital components that make ZANO fly, to the very boxes that ZANO is packaged in are all priced and sourced!
Our in house team has begun work on the GUI and the App integration. Over the coming months the team will begin development for Android and iOS, this will continue until March 2015, at which point the App's will be tested rigorously then submitted to Android and iOS App stores for download in May 2015.
ZANO is up and flying, holding position, avoiding obstacles, streaming live video back to a smart device, capturing video and photos. However, with as much capability as we've packed into ZANO, we are continuing to refine the flight, avoidance, video and photo capturing and user interface, plus we have relentless testing and refining procedures prior to us releasing ZANO to the market. We will begin our BETA testing in March 2015. With a view to enter production in May 2015!
It's been a long journey, but ZANO is almost here! From everyone here at Team Torquing, we hope you are as excited as us!
Working in the Aerospace and Defence Technology sector since 2008, Torquing Group Ltd has built a reputation as one of the most innovative and forward thinking Unmanned Aerial System research and development companies in the world.
Regularly acknowledged in the defence sector as the primary innovator in bringing autonomy, intelligence and swarming capability to Nano UAVs, Head of Research and Development, Ivan Reedman feels it is now time to bring such innovation to the consumer at an affordable price.
"For me, The real joys of creating are being able to share those creations with the world. The experience of opening a product and feeling true innovation is something that once experienced, never leaves you. I got the same feeling when I opened my first iPhone as I did when I opened my very first Casio Calculator watch in 1983. I can only hope that people will feel the same and be inspired when they experience ZANO for the very first time."
With a wealth of experience in Product Design, Manufacturing, Engineering, Software and Application Development, Torquing Group Ltd is well equipped to deliver ZANO to its Kickstarter backers on time.
Risks and challenges
Through innovation and diligent research and development, We are 100% confident in delivering an Autonomous and Intelligent aerial photography and video platform. We know our technology works.
We have enlisted a world-class British EMS (Electronic Manufacturing Service), with over 20 years of experience in bringing cutting edge high-end technology products to market, to manufacture ZANO for our Kickstarter backers.
We have taken into account that component lead times potentially could cause delay in delivering ZANO to our backers on time. We have conservatively estimated a June delivery, however, Our component suppliers often need to order the raw materials to manufacture their components 12 months in advance, as a brand new product, it is difficult for us to estimate initial volumes and provide an accurate forecast to our suppliers. We want everyone to be able to experience ZANO experience, that's why we have not put a cap on the amount of ZANO's we are making available for the Kickstarter campaign. We have built fantastic relationships with our component suppliers who believe in ZANO and our vision to make aerial photography and video accessible to everyone. Our component suppliers have set aside large volume buffer stock to cope with the initial demand from Kickstarer! However, there is always a risk involved with large volume component supply, we thought we had better mention it! The risk isn’t if you will get it, it is simply when you will get it, if any supply issues arise! (We are working hard to ensure they do not!)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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