The wide-angled action camera just got a pretty impressive 360° makeover with this Xiaomi concept

Designed to rival the GoPro, the Insta360, and the newly launched (and highly impressive) DJI Action Cam 2, this sweet little number comes with the Xiaomi brand name emblazoned on it, although it’s just a concept from the mind of Michal Dufka, a budding concept artist and designer based out of Prague.

Titled the Xiaomi Mi Action 360, the camera is a compact device no larger than most action cameras… although it does have a key difference – it comes with a swiveling wide-angle lens that turns regular photos into immersive 360° panoramic shots, allowing you to capture much more than you could with just a generic action cam.

While DJI’s Action Cam 2 focused on ease of use and an abundance of feature-rich modules to make capturing simpler on land and at sea, the Mi Action 360’s design brief is simple – “Capture Everything”. With what looks a lot like an eyeball that independently moves to scan the surroundings, the camera’s movable lens turns photos into panoramas, and lets you easily take panning shots while recording video. The eyeball-shaped lens sits within a rectangular camera body, which comes with a simplified interface with just two buttons, and a small display that acts as a viewfinder while also giving you details about your capturing conditions and quality. The display comes touch-enabled too, allowing you to toggle shooting modes, letting you control the rotation of the camera lens either pre-capture or during capture.

The Mi Action 360 overall champions a rather ‘less is more’ aesthetic. The two-button interface aside the camera’s body also has a battery level indicator, an in-built microphone, and two tripod mounts that let you hook your action camera onto tripods, selfie sticks, or a host of other mount-compatible accessories. It doesn’t match up to the DJI Action Cam’s magnetic mounting system, which I’ve declared my love for pretty publicly. That being said, the Mi Action 360’s core capabilities are entirely different, and judging by the size of the lens, this little bad boy should quite easily be able to capture 360° HDRI images in 4K, which would make for great immersive VR content. It’s a shame this camera’s just a concept… although here’s hoping that an exec at Xiaomi sees this design.

Designer: Michal Dufka

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DJI’s latest action camera just made the GoPro look like an expensive hunk of plastic





With an incredibly diverse eco-system of snap-on modules that let you practically attach the camera anywhere you want, the DJI Action 2 is what you get when you create a camera after intense research and design-thinking… not by simply copying what the rest of the market is doing.

Drone and gimbal makers extraordinaire, DJI seems to be completely disrupting the non-smartphone consumer camera market. The OM, Osmo, and Pocket give you a set of really powerful stabilized on-ground recording capabilities, while DJI’s drones really speak for themselves… With the Action 2, however, the company hopes to conquer yet another market that was up until now dominated by GoPro.

“The blueprint of an action cam is a familiar one – tough, waterproof, in a compact body”, says the narrator in the video above… and in doing so, perfectly describes the pit into which most tech companies fall – the pit of the ‘template’. It’s easy to be the second or the third best company in any domain… simply follow your biggest competitor and provide ‘the next best option’ for consumers to consider. This is something most action cameras have been doing by simply recreating what the GoPro pushed out. Once you hacked the template, you could make your action camera cheaper, have more memory, have a better battery, or cloud storage, and voila… your product was a worthy competitor to the GoPro. What the Action 2 aims at doing is redrawing that template by asking itself “If the GoPro didn’t exist, what would an action camera in 2021 look like?”

What the Action 2 gets right with its design isn’t just the camera (after all, DJI’s cameras are pretty fantastic to begin with) but rather how the camera is operated. The company designed an exhaustive list of modules, holders, and even accessories to go with their camera, all of which affix themselves to the Action 2 using an incredibly powerful set of magnets (a la MagSafe). The modules simply snap on or snap off, and give you a variety of use-cases, from being able to hold the camera in your hand, fix it to your chest/arm/head, attach it to your helmet, handlebar, or dashboard, place it on a steady surface, or even go underwater with it. If there’s a place you could take your Action 2, or an activity you could conduct with your Action 2… DJI’s thought of it and designed a module/accessory for it.

In many ways, this holistic approach is GoPro’s undoing. The way DJI’s modules just magnetically snap on or snap off the Action 2 make it really easy to use the camera anywhere and anyhow… and the camera’s all-terrain + waterproof design, 155° Super-Wide lens, powerful digital stabilization algorithm, and the 4-microphone recording setup make the Action 2 an incredibly compelling purchase.

Perhaps the Action 2’s most defining feature (and you’ll see it practically all their images) is the snap-on touchscreen module. Traditionally, all action cameras have lenses on the front and displays on the rear… and that’s great for filming everything except yourself. DJI’s Front Touchscreen Module basically lets you turn the action camera into a wide-angle vlogging camera. The module snaps right on and lets you attach other accessories like the tripod, selfie stick, car-mount, etc. Moreover, snapping it on doesn’t just give you a front-facing extra screen… it gives you an extra battery pack too, doubling the Action 2’s recording time to 160 minutes, and also adds extra mics for crisper audio recording – a feature that vastly benefits vloggers and influencers who want to be in the spotlight.

Sony is disrupting the photography industry with its Airpeak S1 drone that can mount ANY Sony Alpha camera





Sony is probably the only company at the moment to be able to boast of having a robust camera as well as a burgeoning aerial-tech business. It’s preceded only by GoPro, which launched the Karma drone back in 2016 and discontinued it in 2018 after a very tepid response. GoPro’s cameras, however, are still some of the most popular payload options to add on existing drones, but that pales in comparison to what Sony is offering. Sony’s first drone, the Airpeak S1, is a large pro-level drone that is designed to carry a gimbal along with a full-size mirrorless Sony Camera. It expands what your existing camera is capable of, and essentially means your professional camera (and its lenses) can now take to the skies, capturing professional-grade image and video content.

Make no mistake, the Airpeak S1 isn’t your average drone. It isn’t meant for FPV racing or for consumer-grade aerial shots like drones from DJI or Parrot. The Airpeak S1 is the kind of drone a high-budget photographer or cinematographer would use for taking film-grade shots. The drone comes built entirely by the folks at Sony, engineered to work seamlessly with a 3-axis gimbal and a host of Sony’s cameras, including the A1, A911, A7s111, A7RIV, and FX3 cameras, along with E-Mount lenses between 14mm and 85mm.

The Airpeak S1 is currently the smallest drone ever made to be able to carry a full-size camera. Measuring 644mm in total span, the drone’s most compelling features are its ability to go from 0-50mph in 3.5 seconds, and its stability and wind resistance, making it perfect for aerial shots no matter the weather… although those figures change with different cameras and lenses. According to Sony, the Airpeak can stay stable in winds of up to 44.7 miles per hour, a feat made possible by the 5 additional stereo cameras located on the drone that help it constantly optimize its performance, along with an infrared range-finder that actively helps it avoid obstacles.

For now, the Airpeak S1 can either be controlled via its remote, or the Airpeak Flight app, which will be available later this year only for iOS devices. Sony has worked with drone gimbal experts at Gremsby to develop a bespoke 3-axis stabilizer for the Airpeak S1, although this will be available as an additional purchase. The drone and gimbal can both be controlled singularly by the remote that can hook up to an iPad for viewfinding purposes. Somewhere down the line, Sony will allow the drone and the gimbal to be operated independently (allowing one person to take on piloting activities while the other person oversees cinematography). While launching the drone, Sony also announced that it was working on a cloud-based app called Airpeak Base, that would let users plot automated flight routes and manage a fleet of Airpeak drones.

The Airpeak S1 currently exists as an incredibly niche product that’s made for professional use. Just the drone itself comes with a whopping $9,000 price tag (the gimbal and camera cost extra), which definitely puts it in a class of its own, but then again, the drone lets you mount 8K cameras on it along with a wide range of lenses. While this isn’t something that would probably excite consumers, it opens up an entirely new class of drones, which could one day even work with smartphones (imagine an Apple-branded drone that works with your iPhone 12 Pro).

Sony’s $9,000 drone will be made available at the end of this year – For that price tag, you’ll get the drone along with 2 batteries, a charger, and a remote. The Airpeak S1 still awaits approval from the FAA, although Sony’s even made it clear that the production and manufacturing of all the drone’s hardware is happening in Japan, in light of US legislation and controversies around all drones being manufactured in China.

Designer: Sony

DJI’s new FPV Drone gives you the superpower of flight… well almost!

DJI‘s latest drone doesn’t want you to simply operate it… it wants to put you in a virtual cockpit. The DJI FPV Drone isn’t so much about being an incredible drone as it is about boasting of its one, standout feature – the FPV or First Person View. Armed with a pretty futuristic-looking pair of goggles, a low-latency video transmission unit, and a redesigned set of controllers, the DJI FPV drone is about giving YOU the thrill of the flight by allowing you to see exactly what the drone sees… in real-time!

At the heart of the DJI FPV drone are two incredibly revolutionary innovations. Firstly, its HD Low-Latency Transmission of video that gives you the ability to view high-definition footage from the drone in stunning real-time; and secondly, its set of hardware controllers, which allow all sorts of users to experience the FPV’s glorious adrenaline rush, whether you’re a novice or a pro drone-flyer.

The quadcopter drone was built for the thrill of racing. Its uniquely curved and aerodynamic design is engineered for minimal drag, as well as to house all of the drone’s modular, removable, and replaceable parts, including the battery, camera, gimbal, landing gear, and the top shell (which acts as a helmet, protecting the drone from head-on collisions). Needless to say, if your drone ever feels the wrath of a tree or a boulder, it can, for the most part, be fixed or repaired.

The Aircraft

Built for the thrill of racing, the DJI FPV drone boasts of a camera that’s arguably as cinematic as the ones found on its Phantom series of drones. The DJI FPV aircraft can record 4K/60fps video at up to 120 Mbps, capturing crisp details that make footage look as exhilarating as the flight. Electronic Image Stabilization reduces jitter during flight, while DJI boasts of being able to beam videos from the aircraft to the goggles with as little as 28 milliseconds of latency, up to a distance of a whopping 10 kilometers or 6.2 miles. With that kind of speed comes responsibility too, which is why the aircraft comes built-in with a whole set of preventive measures and fail-safes to ensure your drone doesn’t crash or plummet from the sky as its battery dies out. Multiple sensors located on the aircraft allow it to dodge obstacles, while smart RTH features ensure the drone makes its way back home when it’s low on battery. In fact, the gear comes pre-equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), which receives flight location information of manned aircrafts in the area, sending alerts directly to your goggles to avoid problems.

The Goggles

The goggles/headset forms the primary sensory element of the FPV experience, allowing you to see what the drone sees. It isn’t like your everyday VR headset, but rather sports a super-wide 150° FOV (so obstacles never sneak up on you), along with a max frame rate of 120 FPS, giving you ultra-smooth video transmission with practically no delay… so you can zig-zag to avoid obstacles like a fighter-jet, make freefall dives like a falcon, or perform stunts like a, well, stuntman! The goggles even offer a virtual training experience with the DJI Virtual Flight App for your smartphone, allowing you to race through VR environments before you actually take to the skies.

The Controllers

To maneuver the drone, DJI offers two controllers that unlock the aircraft’s true potential. You have the standard handheld controller which lets you operate the drone as you would any other, albeit with three different modes. The S-Mode unlocks simplified flight, giving you the freedom of fully manual flight with simplified controls. The N-Mode, however, is ideal for new users and novices, offering a traditional flight experience with safety features like obstacle-sensing. The M-Mode gives you complete manual control, intended at seasoned FPV drone racers. You can customize parameters and enjoy limitless control over your aircraft, including acceleration speeds of 0-100km/h in a mind-numbing 2.0 seconds!

The second controller feels a lot like entering into VR territory. Styled like a joystick, or the kind of controller you’d get with a VR headset, DJI’s Motion Controller (sold separately) lets you literally control the drone with your hands. You can maneuver the drone by simply tilting and moving the joystick around, giving you an incredibly intuitive and natural controlling experience. Moreover, a dedicated stop-and-hover button lets you instantly pause the drone in mid-air (a feature that’s great in emergencies), and a return-to-home button allows you to summon the drone back with a simple push of a button. Every aspect of the DJI FPV aims at giving you unbridled control over the drone, and putting you in the drone’s virtual cockpit. Unlike DJI’s other drone offerings that are made for videography, the FPV is for the sheer thrill of being able to fly like a bird, jet, or quite frankly, like Tony Stark… minus the weapons and hand-repulsors of course!

The DJI FPV drone currently retails for $1,299 on DJI’s retail website, with an additional $199 for the Motion Controller.

Designer: DJI

Commerce Department cuts off China’s biggest chipmaker from US tech

US Department of Commerce added dozens of Chinese companies to its Entity List this morning, but one looms especially large. Citing concerns over national security, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation — China’s single largest chip m...