BIKI Fish Drone Preview: The Drone That's A Fish!
You can’t deny that it looks cute. The BIKI is the “world’s first bionic unmanned underwater drone,” or so says the company making it, Robosea.
It’s a neat idea, and looks great, but that’s only a fraction of what makes a decent product. That it’s on Kickstarter is another red flag (of caution, not diver down).
Since it’s not out yet, we can have a look at the specs for an idea about the BIKI.
Obviously the biggest difference between BIKI and other underwater drones is its physical shape and design. It looks like a fish, flappy fin and everything. They claim it will move through the water at over 1 mph, and do so very quietly. It automatically sets its own buoyancy and level, which is pretty clever. Built-in GPS returns it to you if it goes out of range. Using the camera (more on that later) it will avoid underwater obstacles.
The battery is said to last around 90-120 minutes. When it drops to 20%, it heads back to you, thanks to the aforementioned GPS and an IMU.
Perhaps most impressive is they claim BIKI can submerge to 196 feet.
Inside is a camera that can shoot 4K video and 16 megapixel photos through a 150-degree wideangle lens. Robosea claims 90-120 minutes of record time. With the whole chassis wiggling from the fin’s wagging, I couldn't imagine how any of the videos would be remotely watchable. Robosea claims: “The IMU and exclusive algorithm ROBOSEA™ allows BIKI to keep its balance in the water, so the BIKI Robotic Fish can be used to shoot clearly underwater.”
As far as control goes, above the water it connects via WiFi to your phone or tablet. WiFi doesn’t really penetrate water very far, so you can either program in a patrol route, or use an included underwater remote control that uses “acoustic communication technique” to work up to 33 feet. It doesn’t stream video or photos from under the water, that tech doesn’t really exist.
But even though the BIKI has passed its Kickstarter goal, that doesn’t mean we’ll see it in a pool any time soon. Hardware Kickstarters are always a gamble. Robosea is claiming September of this year for backers to receive their BIKIs. If you want to back them, and I’m not saying you should, the price is $599 for a single BIKI. If they hit retail as planned, the price is an estimated $1,024.
If it works as they claim, it’s a neat little product. We shall see.
You can find out more on their website, mybiki.com.
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[Disclaimer] This information is correct as of May 2017 - Aerial Motion Picture Ltd.