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Wearable Tech

Selfies take flight with Nixie wearable drone

Imagine the profile pictures you could snap with a wearable camera that's also drone. CNET's Sumi Das has more on Nixie, a device that wowed judges at Intel's "Make It Wearable" contest.

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An early product concept of the Nixie. Nixie/Screenshot by CNET

In the quest for the perfect selfie, happy-snappers have resorted to distinctly odd behavior -- everything from carrying poles wherever they go to getting perilously close to a wild bear. So it should come as no surprise that the grand prize winner of Intel's "Make it Wearable" challenge is a product designed to help you capture the quintessential selfie.

The Nixie claims to be the first wearable and flyable camera. You wear it on your wrist and then release it into the air when you're camera-ready. It's a wearable. It's a drone. It's a selfie-shooter. If that doesn't encapsulate our current zeitgeist, I'm not sure what does.

Thousands entered the Intel competition when it kicked off at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, though only 10 were invited to San Francisco for the final round. Judges included Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, tennis diva Venus Williams, as well as executives from luxury brands Louis Vuitton and Rebecca Minkoff. Watch our CNET News video to see some of the standout finalists.

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The brain behind Nixie is founder Christoph Kohstall. The Stanford postdoctoral student, an avid rock-climber, wanted to make sure the wearable camera was hearty enough to withstand getting knocked about while climbing.

Jelena Jovanovic, chief operating officer of Nixie, said the selfie drone will shoot in HD and 1080p, and it will have several modes including boomerang (the drone flies off your wrist, snaps a pic and then returns to you) and follow-me (the drone stalks, err...I mean flies behind you).

We were a bit disappointed Nixie didn't demonstrate a working prototype. Jovanovic cited intellectual property concerns as the reason behind keeping the device at home. She said the startup is working hard to bring the product to market. The $500,000 in prize money should give them a boost on that front.

Just how much will a Nixie run? Jovanovic said that depends on how many they sell. Expect it to initially cost a bit more than a GoPro portable video camera, but if the Nixie fares well, the price should be comparable to a point and shoot camera.