The folks at Stuff love a good drone. The flying-around one, not the type that puts you to sleep when combined with a PowerPoint presentation. But as they’ve been getting better (oh man, have they been getting better) they’ve also all become the same. It’s hard to move without tripping over improved flight times, enhanced smarts, and slick designs. It’s time for something different. It’s time for the MetaFly.
The product of French inventor Edwin Van Ruymbeke, MetaFly is a drone with a difference. For one, it doesn’t use those high-speed buzzing motors that sound like a particularly nasty hangover in flight. Instead MetaFly uses wings and a lightweight body to get off the ground. It’s a biomimetic craft, meaning that its movement takes more than a few cues from nature. There’s a whole lot of butterfly in this one’s mechanical DNA, is what we’re saying.
Feature, not a bug
And it looks really cool. Takeoff and landing are very similar to MetaFly’s real-world counterparts. Its movement is realistic enough that we see many of these drones being pounced on (and partially consumed) by household pets. Should it survive your initial outing, there are some figures to explore. The drone has a 100-metre wireless range, an 18km top speed (we really want to see that in action), and has an eight-minute flight time. It takes some 12 minutes to recharge the battery and then you can go again. Awesome.
Want one? The Kickstarter campaign is ongoing (you’ve got another 51 days left) and has already smashed its $33,800 target to bits. If you want to secure your very own MetaFly, you’re going to have to shell out €79 (R1,300 or so — a fair bit less than the R2,100 retail price). Provided you get in early, that is.