Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
 / Updated  / Source: NBC News

One of the creators of the Roomba is looking to shake up another high-tech category: drones. Helen Greiner, who co-designed the world's most popular robotic vacuum, thinks the world of aerial robots could be better, and the CyPhy (like "sci-fi") LVL 1 is her team's effort at leapfrogging the competition. The LVL 1, just launched on Kickstarter, has six rotors instead of the usual four, and if you look closely you can see that they don't point straight down but are canted at slight angles. This allows the drone to maneuver without tilting forward or sideways like so many others. This improves stability and makes footage shot using the LVL 1 (on a built-in 1080p camera) much steadier.

This little UAV is flown using a smartphone app instead of a multi-joystick controller, which makes it easy for anyone to pick up and operate — though you can connect a manual controller if you want to experience the joy of flight (and crashing). The LVL 1 also comes with built-in GPS and smart features like map-based navigation and geofencing — so the kids can take it into the yard or park and you don't have to worry about the drone meandering into nearby yards.

Of course, you'll be paying at least $450 for this marvel of modern technology — more than a simple hobby drone that does fewer tricks. The team has already been working on the LVL 1 for a year, and they expect to ship the completed product early next year.



—Devin Coldewey