Sprite – A Portable Rugged Drone for the Outdoors

Ascent AeroSystems is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund their Sprite drone, designed to be a photography tool instead of a toy.

The team at Ascent AeroSystems wanted an aerial camera platform that was portable, rugged, powerful and simple to use. Their solution is the Sprite, currently running a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund their first round of production parts.

Sprite is marketed toward outdoor enthusiasts who want a camera to take with them for aerial shots. The design is upright and compact with a hard plastic water-resistant airframe. The 1080p high definition signal can be shot with a standard two axis gimbal system, and a three axis gimbal is also available.

Photos courtesy Ascent Aerosystems

Currently Sprite works with Tower, DroidPlanner and MissionPlanner software. Ascent hopes that the open source philosophy will keep Sprite fresh and allow users to continually find new uses for it. Users can create flights by drawing paths on a tablet, orbit points of interest while keeping the camera on the point, map a target area, or follow a user. Control can be programmed into Sprite or done real time with a phone or tablet.

Sprite’s body is 350 millimeters long and 100 millimeters in diameter. It weight 1200 grams when fit with a standard camera and battery. Current flight times are only ten to twelve minutes using an 11.1 Volt lithium polymer battery but the developers say that the run time is being developed and optimized. The drone flies at up to 10 meters per second, and the signal range is around two kilometers.

The body is designed to be modular with threaded attachments to allow for different payloads and different options to be added later. Blades fold down to make the drone more portable and fit within the side pocket of a backpack. Several accessories and options are available now or shown in development on the company’s website.

Sprite looks like a great product and the coaxial rotors look like an easy way to keep the overall package tight and compact. When the range and flying time crank up this looks to be a great tool for aerial photography. Funding ends on June 13 and first units are expected to ship in December 2015.

Photos courtesy Ascent Aerosystems