DJI Reveals $500 Miniature-Sized Personal Drone 'DJI Spark' With Gesture Controls

At its "#SeizeTheMoment" event in New York City today, drone maker DJI announced its newest device, called the DJI Spark. The company said that the new drone is its "smallest, smartest, and simplest" drone to date, and was built to capture moments on the go that bulkier drones might miss out on.

The drone lifts from the palm of the user's hands and can be controlled through hand gestures, without the need of a smartphone. Following an initial launch, Spark enters Gesture Mode which lets users move the drone in any direction by guiding it with their hand, while waving will push it back ten feet, and creating a square with your fingers will capture a photo. To call it back, users just have to wave their arms over their head, then place their palm out so it can rest.


The company designed the drone to be light, weighing about 10.6 ounces, so it can be carried around easily on a daily basis, with a total flight time of 16 minutes. Interchangeable batteries and a micro-USB port allow easy recharging in the field, as well. Additionally, the company aimed to make Spark more personalized than its previous products, with color options coming in Alpine White, Sky Blue, Meadow Green, Lava Red, and Sunrise Yellow.
“Controlling a camera drone with hand movements alone is a major step towards making aerial technology an intuitive part of everyone’s daily life, from work and adventure to moments with friends and family,” said Paul Pan, Senior Product Manager at DJI. “Spark’s revolutionary new interface lets you effortlessly extend your point of view to the air, making it easier than ever to capture and share the world from new perspectives.”
When users want to get a little more control, Spark can connect to an iPhone app and be flown as far as 109 yards away from the user. An optional remote control accessory allows the drone to be flown as far as 1.24 miles away. In the app, users can enable the QuickShot Intelligent Flight feature, which follows a subject for around one minute and then automatically edits the footage down to ten seconds so it can be easily shared on social media.


Spark houses a camera with a 1/2.3" CMOS sensor that captures 12 megapixel photos and records stabilized 1080p videos at 30fps. Some technology found in previous DJI drones has also been added in Spark, including intelligent flight modes like TapFly and ActiveTrack. The company has also introduced entirely new shooting modes, including a horizontal and vertical panoramic mode, and a depth of field "ShallowFocus" mode.

To ensure flight safety, Spark has dual GPS and GLONASS sensors, a 3D sensing system to detect obstacles up to 16 feet away, and a vision positioning system with a range of up to 98 feet. With a sufficient GPS signal, Spark will return to the point that it launched if its battery begins running low or if the pilot taps the Return to Home button. Integration with the company's geofencing warning system also gives pilots a heads up when a potential flight area might be an anti-drone zone.


DJI is opening up pre-orders for Spark today at $499, which includes the drone, a battery, a USB charger, and three pairs of propellers. The company is also selling a Spark Fly More Combo, which includes a drone, two batteries, four pairs of propellers, a remote controller, propeller guards, a charging hub, a shoulder bag, and all necessary cables, for $699. The drone is expected to begin shipping in June.

Tag: DJI


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20 months ago
DJI will also brick your device if you don't share your personal details with them. Enjoy!

https://hardware.slashdot.org/story/17/05/23/200258/dji-threatens-to-brick-its-copters-unless-owners-agree-to-share-their-details
Rating: 5 Votes
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20 months ago
10.6 ounces is 300 grams. In Canada anything over 250g is pretty much unusable because of the latest restrictive laws.

https://www.canada.ca/en/transport-canada/news/2017/03/new_safety_rulesforrecreationaldroneusetakeimmediateeffect.html
Rating: 2 Votes
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20 months ago
These things are getting really close to mass-market appeal. I really appreciate the innovation that DJI puts into their products. I've been interested in getting a drone for a few years now, but don't necessarily want anything fancy. I'll probably buy the second or third generation of something like this when the flight time is closer to 30 minutes, it gets 4K like the bigger models, it folds up so it's even more compact, and is priced at $349-399.
Rating: 2 Votes
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20 months ago

How do you figure that? A 9km radius gives me 254.47 square kilometres.


You're right. I did the arithmetic too quickly in my head and quartered the number as I took a rough approximation.
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So because of that you'll need a license to fly it in Canada?


Yes, the cutoff is 250g. More carefully with a calculator this time, that's 0.55 pounds or 8.8 ounces. The DJI drone is 10.6 ounces. Too heavy by 1.8.
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In the U.S. you can't pilot a UAV without a license anywhere and without first passing a knowledge test. No exceptions for where you are flying it, as in Canada.


My very limited understanding from reading a few news summaries is that that US license is a formality and cash grab, much like what the FCC does with GMRS radio.

In Canada, I really have no idea what the process is and I've tried to find out. Here's the page from the transport canada website if you care, and I can't even tell if you can get the license, and I can't tell how you qualify for the exemptions you're talking about. https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/opssvs/getting-permission-fly-drone.html
Rating: 1 Votes
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20 months ago

I'm just hoping some of these gesture controls come to other drones like the mavic


You might be referring to something else, but that Mavic does have a few gesture controls.
Rating: 1 Votes
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20 months ago
It's not $500 in the UK.
Rating: 1 Votes
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20 months ago

16 minutes might not seem like a long time, but you'd be surprised. my mavic is supposed to last almost 30 minutes, and after what seems like a long flight, it usually turns out to only be 5-10. and considering this is really more designed to be a selfie drone, you probably won't be flying it for a long period at a time. plus the thing is tiny so 16 isn't bad


How long does it take to charge when the battery is fully depleted?
Rating: 1 Votes
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20 months ago

I have been interested in drones with in the last year. As much as this one looks appealing, the battery life is a huge drawback for this model. Another member mentioned 16 minutes for usage. But for portability, this wins hands down for its size.

16 minutes might not seem like a long time, but you'd be surprised. my mavic is supposed to last almost 30 minutes, and after what seems like a long flight, it usually turns out to only be 5-10. and considering this is really more designed to be a selfie drone, you probably won't be flying it for a long period at a time. plus the thing is tiny so 16 isn't bad
Rating: 1 Votes
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20 months ago
Very interesting product. A couple things worth pointing out though. First, they recommend prop guards for hand-launching and they are apparently available only with the combo package at $200 more than the entry-level price. Second I believe geo-fencing to prevent flight in restricted areas is now mandatory on all new drones sold in the U.S., so that isn't really a feature.
Rating: 1 Votes
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