The next time you're headed to the park to play a game of ball, forget about the ball. A new startup called Zyro wants to replace tennis balls, soccer balls, hockey pucks and frisbees with a special aerial drone designed for sports and multiplayer gaming.
Zyro's creators -- a team of engineers, drone enthusiasts and rugby players -- recently launched a Kickstarter campaign seeking $50,000 in funding. They dream of creating games centered around a frisbee-like quadcopter drone with a protective shell that keeps players safe from the drone's dangerous blades. The current project is only destined to ship to the US and Canada, but if this becomes the sport of the future, who knows?
There are two ways to move the Zyro drone to play. You can use a handheld wand to point it in the direction you want it to go, using similar gestures to swinging a tennis racket or throwing a baseball. If you own another drone already, you can also use it to control a Zyro with the help of a remote control. Imagine being able to play a game of soccer where instead of humans kicking the ball around, players control drones that kick a smart ball around and, hopefully, score a few goals in the process.
Players use the Zyro mobile app to choose games, set virtual boundaries for the playing area and more. The drone can be set to fly from zero to 25 feet in the air, and on fields ranging from 7x7 feet to a full-size football field. You can only play with up to eight people, however, so those bigger courts might prove to be unwieldy for some games.
Those interested in drone sports can order a Zyro system for $449 for the drone and one wand, though you'll probably want to splurge for the $899 package that contains a drone, a wand and four drone remotes that players can hook up to their drones to use as controllers. One of the rewards for the Zyro Kickstarter includes four wands, which I think looks like the best way to play the Zyro games, but it's a developer package that comes with a hefty $2,499 price tag.
Check out its Kickstarter campaign to learn more or to preorder a Zyro, which should buzz its way to your doorstep in June if the product meets its crowdfunding goal by March 13. But with the company having raised just $670 of its $50,000 goal with 18 days to go in its campaign, your dream of playing drone sports may have to wait awhile.