You’ve probably heard of drones, and these days you may have heard of them in a negative light. Drones are essentially any automatic mechanical device that can be remote controlled without being manned. Quadcopter drones, in particular, have really taken off (pardon the pun) in recent years. While drones are not really the most technologically advanced objects out there, they are, you have to admit, among the coolest. Everyone from filmmakers to marketing teams to hobbyists enjoys taking aerial shots and literally getting a new perspective on things.


Unfortunately, while they’re cool and all, they’re also generally big, rather unwieldy and quite expensive. But that’s not always going to be the case. A small team of three people has decided to upgrade the drone and develop Nixie, a quadcopter camera drone that attaches itself onto your wrist.

When its wearer decides that it wants to capture an image, you easily detach Nixie and it is propelled into the air. It finds its subject, snaps a picture/video, and returns. Neat! It’s like something out of a science fiction movie from 30 years ago that you’ve always secretly wanted.

Nixie is being developed by Captain Christoph Kohstall, Jelena Jovanovic, and Michael Neidermayr for Intel’s “Make It Wearable” competition, and has made it to the top ten. Small drones like Nixie can be utilized in various situations such as sporting events and even search-and-rescue operations.

Its many uses definitely increase the value of such a small drone, but Nixie does have nine other wearable technological marvels to overcome (more on those here). Aside from that, Team Nixie faces challenges as to how to make it more durable, reliable, and sturdy without adding to its price. Nixie is still in its development stage and plenty can still be done to improve it. The camera drone faces final judgment on November 3 in San Francisco, where the winning team of the Make It Wearable competition will take home $500,000 to help them further develop their product.

29 Comments
  1. Wow, science and the advancement of technology these days is just astounding. As an avid photographer there have been so many times where I see a beautiful scenery shot and think to myself, “this would be even better if I had some way to get an aerial view.” It looks like scientists are getting closer to making that happen for every day people like myself. Just imagine all of the new technology we’ll have ten years from now…

    • Hahaha, that is interesting. But perhaps you believe the aerial view will be better than it actually will. I guess it’s better to know anyway. The new technology will revolutionize your work and maybe we will all be lucky to get to see it. All the best in your photography.

  2. It’s certainly an interesting concept, but I have my doubts. How easy would it be to control the drone? What would it’s battery life be? The photo/video quality? Would the drone be extremely fragile, irreversibly damaged should I crash it by mistake?

    Based on current technology available to consumers, I have to say that I am skeptic about such a drone being able to perform as stated while remaining affordable to the masses.

    • As with all products, it would most likely improve as time went on. I’m guessing that in a few years (maybe less) we can have a nice and affordable consumer version available to anyone who wants one.

  3. I think that because it will be affordable, more people would buy it. I think this would give the average consumer the ability ti add that new perspective to their YouTube videos and what not. I would consider purchasing one to get views from above for my music videos since I can’t afford the kind of equipment the pros use.

  4. I can’t wait until the price eventually comes down on these. I would love to play around with one and do little experiments with it. I could spend hours messing around with it on the weekend.

    • Me too nerdberd. I really want one, but as I would only use it for messing around I need the price to come down a little to justify buying one.

      I cannot believe how small they are able to be, the potential for uses are endless. Great post, thanks for sharing Dave.

  5. I would love to have one of these drones, especially with the wide array of features. What’d be even cooler is using this for development, because if you can take the camera feed and use it to send the position of an object in space, deploying multiple Nixies could be really easy. Also, I think this’d be a pretty nice piece of tech to use in military operations, where a soldier could get a birds eye view without having to carry bulky computers or controllers, but instead a really rugged phone. The other finalists seems pretty cool too, especially because they’re also truly innovative and do solve some problem or make some technology more accessible.

  6. This would be very cool, but I think it will only be a hit to enthusiast and to those who have practical applications to it. Although it would be really cool to have a drone capture shots for you while walking (meaning less selfie shots) and also maybe for extreme aerial sports that are now mostly dominated by the go pro like cameras.

    I hope you would also feature the other finalist of the competition. I am really pleased to know such contests are now given exposure. Thanks David.

    • Great idea! I’d love to be able to take selfies that don’t look like selfies at all, more like a normal picture taken by someone else. It can be done with this thing 🙂 This way it’d look like someone else took the pic, so it’d no longer be seen as a selfie.

  7. Nixie is just another step into the future. Since its wearable you can take it just about anywhere and capture the perfect aerial shot. Just imagine all the possibilities that Nixie will have. Now consumers will have an affordable way to get the perfect shot, and not just be limited to the ground. Nixie could be used by a hiker to help him/her get a better view of their surroundings or to just capture them as they walk. It will definitely add a new perspective on things.

  8. Wow, this is an amazing new technology to hear about. I’m just here thinking of ways that I’d be able to use the quadcopter drone. I’d probably use it to take some nice aerial photos of cities, use it to capture unique family photos from the air, or heck maybe I’ll become my own secret CIA agent.

    They’re going to have to work on many aspects of this device it seems. The functionality, control, durability, battery life and all the things important when it comes to devices of this nature to make sure it is secure. I am also interested to see what the price will be. Still though, I can’t wait for this to come out!

  9. Wow! Awesome! I bet this Nixie thingy isn’t going to be cheap at all! It’ll surely become a top gadget, but if it snaps pictures so easily… maybe some privacy issues might arise? What if some pervert use it to take pictures of girls or even kids? This kind of things are wonderful, but the makers need to think about the repercussions too, not all people out there are good.

  10. This seems like a neat idea, but also very weird. I can’t see many situations where I might randomly need a drone, and be glad I have one attached to me. It seems like if I was going to need a drone, I would usually know before I head out. Also, if the picture is accurate, it seems too large to be worn comfortably. I don’t know…maybe I will be wrong and this will be the next big thing, but for right now it seems to me to be more of a novelty than anything else.

  11. I don’t know how I feel about this. It seems like if you get too many of these things in the air, they’d just become unwieldy – imagine 100 drones taking off at the same time to snap the same picture, say at a sports event. Or trying to take a good picture of, say Niagara Falls, when there’s hundreds of flying gizmos in the frame.
    How long until our public spaces become crowded by various machines? It makes me wonder if some people are just living vicariously through their devices, sometimes.

    What’s more, I think I’d be somewhat concerned by the privacy implications if this became popular enough. I wouldn’t really like people making their drones follow me around, for instance, yet it seems there would be little one could do about it.

  12. This is actually one of those crazy tech ideas that are badass. I can’t wait for all of the applications this could be used for! Think of the firefighters or just amateurs using these at random events. I’d suggest concerts but I’d like to keep my copter.

  13. I really quite like the idea of this. It doesn’t feel too alien a concept to me, as for years I was desperate to get a small remote controlled helicopter with a camera in it.

    As with many things, technological advance and privacy / security issues will clash heads. But I wouldn’t mind getting one simply to see what I could get away with…

  14. This is very cool. I had watched videos of the Parrot Drone and I thought that it was amazing. But the Nixie is definitely something to consider purchasing. I would like to hear more about how long it can fly, whether it needs charging etc.

  15. Wow! This is the first I have heard of this product. However, I do have to wonder if some times the drone won’t come back to where you are – and can be carried off by wind / damaged by rain / or even carried off by a bird. (Hey, you’ve never know) But it does sound like an awesome prodct.

    I guess it would be great for getting an aerial shot of your high school marching band, your child’s soccer game, or even the neighborhood you are considering buying a house in?

    It is an interesting product and concept for sure!

  16. Wow, this is such a cool intervention! Scary as hell when it comes to privacy issues, but nevertheless COOL. 🙂 I just had a thought… if this became as popular as the cell phone, would the air on top of us (or sky) start becoming crowded with flying drones? If that were to happen, I’m not sure I’d like it anymore.

    • Just what I was thinking today. What happens when you leave your windows open and someone sends a drone to spy on you? What happens when the government decides to hack into these mini drones to keep an eye on the population? I think these advancements in tech need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

  17. I’m not really interested in having a drone to myself personally, but I do admit that I would love if they were incorporated into daily life. I remember watching a video and I don’t know if it was real or not, but it showed drones that Netflix apparently owned and it showed them delivering movies straight to the home. If they actually had that kind of service available to the public then that would be awesome. Wouldn’t help with the laziness of America, but I could live with that.

  18. Small drones can also be helpful in disaster hit areas as well. This will speed up deployment and a network of these will help save lives. This plus a smartphone app that communicates with the drone network could expedite search and rescue.

  19. This is an interesting article. Technology is advancing everyday and I do not see how we could keep up with all of this.

  20. I’m seeing drones to be a great way for film makers to really start off with some awesome aerial shots without having to deal with renting out a helicopter or flying through buildings and such. But for this particular thing, how long would the batter last? Most of the drones of today stay up for a matter minutes only.

  21. Just like their makers, specific names help us understand the character of the products. At first drones are really frightening and kind of spooky, but only until the most recent news about how Amazon was using drones to deliver products to their customers. It’s a different thing to be looking at a mad scientist’s invention and observing a dedicated designer’s problem solving idea, even if they are actually referring to the same drone. It’s a good idea to have things wearable, because then readers aren’t forced to imagine vague uses of their gadgets.

  22. One can only imagine the military uses that this invention might have. I am pretty sure that the Pentagon and other military agent across the world are looking into ways to implement this drone into their military missions. This is how these cool and handy inventions end up being misused in the long run anyways. It’s all a matter of time until you see this being used in the battlefield.

    • The military has technological drones that far surpass this drone.Some things you might have thought not to be possible is been developed for the military.

  23. It’s a bit weird how many things are becoming wearable these days. First smartwatches, now drones? I don’t really see why anyone would want a drone with this little lift attached to their arm, but I guess they’ll find a use for it somehow.

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