The world's most portable and rugged unmanned aerial vehicle (presumably). Photo: Ascent AeroSystems

The world’s most portable and rugged unmanned aerial vehicle (presumably). Photo: Courtesy of Ascent AeroSystems

The Kickstarter sales pitch starts like this: “Sprite is a completely different kind of unmanned aerial vehicle. Portable, rugged, powerful and easy to use. A tool, not a toy.”

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What better way to catch the attention of scores of amateur outdoorsmen, adventurous photographers and novice filmmakers who are newly exploring a trend that is providing a virtual bird's-eye view from the heavens: the drone.

Sprite is thoughtfully designed

Featuring a modular body that requires no tools to crack into, Sprite favors the look of a thermos: The guts are neatly sealed inside the tube, impervious to dust, dirt and water, and once tossed into the air, it sprouts blades that keep it aloft. Sprite also floats.

Sprite is easy to use

With Sprite's autopilot feature, you can create three-dimensional flight paths, change speed, hold a position, fly circles or a survey pattern and scan structures or regions of interest while keeping the camera pointed where you want it. Sprite can also be programed to follow you, be flown with an optional remote-controlled transmitter or be set to an automatic controller-less flight mode if you want to leave the controls behind.

Sprite has technical prowess

Flight range is a distance of up to 4 miles, depending on mission, equipment and environment. Sprite supports 1080p high-definition video and features a GoPro-compatible two-axis stabilized gimbal. Close-proximity obstacle-avoidance technology is onboard for operation in confined areas, and a high-intensity LED light band is standard for visibility and night operations.

Sprite interfaces with your Android tablet or smartphone and supports the latest Tower, DroidPlanner and MissionPlanner flight-control software.

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