Forget Selfies, Here Come "Dronies" (Yes, It Means What You Think)

For the ITP spring tech conference, a group of NYU students have created a "dronie booth." Photos taken this way—a programmed UAV flies up, takes a picture, and flies away—are on the rise.

A group of New York University students are trying to perfect the art of taking selfies with drones—"dronies," if you will. As part of an NYU tech think tank ITP’s spring show, attendees get to take drone selfies. The DroneBooth project uses custom-programmed AR drones, similar to ones sold commercially on Amazon, to fly up to attendees, take their pictures, and then fly away. Pictures of attendees are then turned into GIFs for maximum virality—here’s one of Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley (an ITP alum).

Dennis Crowley

Kristina Budelis, a member of the team behind the DroneBooth project, tells Fast Company that the dronies grew out of a class called Flying Robotic Journalism. "Three teammates (Fletcher Bach, Pamela Liou, and Neil Solomon) and myself began to experiment with programming drones a couple of months ago," Budelis told Fast Company. We thought it'd be a lot of fun to make a simple drone booth where you could take your own dronie. We programmed an AR drone with Nodecopter and made a program so when you press a button the drone flies up, takes pictures of you, and flies back down. Then we convert that footage into a GIF."

The DroneBooth team are part of a larger movement of photographers working on dronies. Notably, Vimeo launched a new channel devoted to dronie videos last week. In the meantime, here’s some drone-shot footage for an upcoming documentary of AT&T’s Bell Labs laboratory in New Jersey featuring Fast Company’s own Jon Gertner.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified Neil Solomon's last name and the period of time the Flying Robotic Journalism team had been experimenting with AR drones.

[Image: Flickr user Doxieone]

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