Selfie-Taking Drone Could Be Good for Political Activists

Don't chalk the Lily camera up to millennial narcissism just yet.



Forget the selfie stick: the future of autophotography may just lie in drones. The "Lily," available now for pre-order, is a "camera-wielding 'selfie drone' that can follow you around in the air," the millennial site Mic reports. But don't chalk this one up to the narcissistic zeitgeist just yet. 

In making aerial shots and video both easy and affordable—the Lily is selling for $499 until June 15th, with a regular retail price of $999—the camera could be a big deal for independent filmmakers, video journalists, and adventure-seekers of all sorts. Its manufacturers call the compact, waterproof device "the world's first throw-and-shoot camera. All you have to do is throw it in the air to start shooting. Lily flies itself and uses GPS and computer vision to follow you around." 

Created by University of California, Berkeley roboticists, Lily can travel up to 25 miles per hour, shoot high-definition video, and take 12-megapixel stills.

As Mic's Max Plenke points out, all of these features could make the camera useful for political activists and people covering protests. "(S)ince it uses algorithms to recognize its owner and reframe around its target," Plenkte notes, Lily could be "used to film individuals during protests as a safety precaution, or to illustrate the real goings-on if they aren't being covered properly by media outlets."