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Hover Camera drone follows your every move without your help

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Think of the Hover Camera as a smarter smartphone camera -- that flies.

Roughly the size of an average hardcover book when folded up for travel, you probably wouldn't know it was a camera, let alone a flying one. The Hover Camera's four propellers and motors are encased in an intricate carbon-fiber framework that's not only strong and light, but its design helps self-cool its internal components. Unfold its "wings" and it's ready to fly; turn it on, let it go and, true to its name, it will just hover.

The quadcopter uses optical and sonar sensors to position and steady itself while a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor (found in phones like the HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5) runs advanced proprietary computer vision and artificial intelligence to detect and track faces or bodies. You don't need a controller because it simply uses faces to guide itself around.

hover-camera-drone-10.jpg
Joshua Goldman/CNET

If you do want to fly it higher (it can hover as high as 164 feet or 50 meters), you can use its companion iOS or Android app to position the drone with simple onscreen taps and swipes. The app will have automatic options for shooting panorama videos and 90- and 360-degree orbits as well. You'll also be able to transfer photos and videos to your device for immediate sharing.

Its 13-megapixel camera is on a tiny gimbal that helps stabilize the camera and can tilt it up and down. Electronic stabilization is also used to smooth video, which can be captured at resolutions up to 4K.

As with most small drones, battery life appears to be the biggest downside at just up to 7 minutes per charge. The batteries are easily swapped out by simply sliding off the top.

Zero Zero Robotics, the Beijing-based start-up behind it, said it expects to ship in time for this holiday season with a price somewhere south of $600 (approximately AU$775 or £415). If you're already thinking about all the ways you'd use the Hover Camera, you can sign up now to try to be a beta tester on the company's site.

Editors' note: We previously noted that the maximum altitude was 16 feet, but is actually 164 feet or 50 meters. The camera resolution is also 13 megapixels and not 12 as earlier stated.

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