DJI Unveils the Spark, A ‘Mini Drone’ You Can Control with Hand Gestures

There’s a new DJI drone taking to the skies, and it’s the smallest, easiest-to-use quadcopter the Chinese company has ever created. Meet the DJI Spark, a tiny drone that’s packed full of easy-to-use features that make it perfect for the drone novice and aerial selfie enthusiast.

The headline feature of this little drone—beyond its diminutive size, that is—is that you can control it using hand gestures with “Gesture Mode.” It can launch from and land back in the palm of your hand, you can move it like Magneto controlling a piece of metal, and making a portrait gesture with your hands takes a picture and adds shallow depth of field for some added umph… just to name a few options.

More complex maneuvers, automated flight paths and the like have to be controlled from your phone and/or the Spark remote controller, but DJI maintains that the drone can be controlled “by hand gestures alone” … if you’re using its most basic functions.

Here’s a quick intro to this fascinating little drone, so you can see these features in action:

In addition to hand gestures, the drone also includes intelligent flight options with pre-programmed flight paths and subject tracking; the “3D Sensing System” keeps the drone from running into obstacles in front of it (there’s also a downward sensor, but nothing above or behind); and the whole thing can fly up to 31 mph (50 kph).

Finally, once you’re in the air and doing all of these fancy maneuvers, you’ll be capturing it all using a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor capable of 12MP photos and 1080p video, attached to a 2-axis gimbal. And all of this functionality is packed into a drone that is just 10.6 ounces (300 grams) light, less than a can of soda.

Here are a couple more demos for your viewing pleasure:

To find out more about the Spark, head over to the DJI website by clicking here.

Spark is already up on the DJI store, where you can pre-order it at $500 for the aircraft, a battery, a USB charger and three pairs of propellers, or $700 for the aircraft, two batteries, four pairs of propellers, a remote controller, propeller guards, a charging hub, a shoulder bag and all necessary cables.

The drone is available in 5 colors—Alpine White, Sky Blue, Meadow Green, Lava Red, and Sunrise Yellow—and DJI expects it to start shipping mid-June.