How would you like an “invisible” 360 camera drone that works with almost any consumer 360 camera? Andrii Shramko has designed his own Invisible Shramko 360 Drone, which can fit not only the Qoocam 8K but which is so slim that it can also be used with any other 360 camera. Here are details, a video of the quad in flight, a sample 360 video, and an analysis of whether it is invisible even to the Insta360 One X2. UPDATE: dimensions added.
Invisible 360 camera drones are designed to carry 360 cameras, while appearing invisible to the 360 camera. The result is either a 360 video or non-360 video where the camera can aim anywhere while the drone appears invisible.
To create this illusion of invisibility, the drone must be slimmer than the 360 camera and thus stay within the narrow area between the 360 camera’s lenses, called the stitch line. Most 360 cameras are designed to be slim, which makes it difficult to design an invisible 360 camera drone.
There are now several 360 camera drones. Most other drones are designed for the Insta360 One R because it is one of the thicker 360 cameras (43mm), which makes it easier to design a drone that is invisible to it. However, Andrii Shramko’s design is invisible even to 360 cameras that are slimmer than the One R such as the Qoocam 8K (33mm thick). He even claims that his design can be used with “any other 360 camera.” If it is invisible even to slimmer cameras such as the Insta360 One X2, it would be the first such 360 camera drone.
Here is Andrii’s video showing the design of his drone and some of its unique features, including a retractable landing gear:
Landing gear: Andrii’s drone is unique in featuring a retractable landing gear, which solves one of the biggest problems for 360 camera drones: their lenses must protrude outside the drone’s frame. This means that if you land (or crash) on a hard surface such as concrete, your lenses will get scratched.
Andrii solves this problem using a simple retractable landing gear that can be triggered by one of the auxiliary switches on his controller. On his Facebook page, he has even shown his drone surviving a crash thanks to the retractable landing gear. I hope that Andrii considers adding a second landing gear for the top lens as well, in case the drone crashes upside down.
Dampeners: Andrii’s drone is the first 360 camera drone I’ve seen to feature dampeners, which may reduce jello from vibrations.
360 Camera Compatibility: the Shramko drone has enough space to accommodate the Qoocam 8K, which is one of the larger consumer 360 cameras. At the same time, it is slimmer than the Qoocam 8K. This means that it should be possible to use it with most consumer 360 cameras as long as you have a frame for the 360 camera.
Live streaming? Andrii mentioned that he may add live streaming capability in the future, which would be impressive if he can pull it off.
I don’t have the precise specifications for Andrii’s drone, but here’s what I can tell from the video.
Props: The quad appears to use 5-inch props.
Motors: four motors. The motors look like the original StanFPV “pancake” 2203 3450kv, a very low profile motor that is ideally suited for invisible drones. The low profile makes it easier to make it invisible, while the wide size gives it more torque. Its low height means it produces less top end power, but invisible drones tend to be cinewhoops, not freestyle quads, so this is a good tradeoff.
Battery: In early designs shown by Andrii, it appeared that he was going to use four 18560 batteries. In newer versions of his drone, he used a 1300mah 4S Li-po and carefully split them to put them side by side. This puts their dimensions at approximately 77mm x 54mm x 19.25mm and the weight of 150 grams.
Frame: The frame is mostly wood, with some 3D-printed TPU parts such as the ducts and the covers for the flight controller and VTX. I’m curious how it would compare to the same design with carbon fiber.
VTX: The VTX is covered by the frame, but Andrii’s videos of him flying the drone show that it is using the DJI digital FPV-compatible Caddx Vista with the Nebula Nano camera.
Receiver: Andrii’s prototype appears to use TBS Crossfire, which is regarded as one of the best receiver protocols for its long range and low latency.
Flight controller and ESC: unknown.
Stabilization: Andrii’s drone is an FPV drone, which means it is not stabilized with GPS and does not appear to have altitude hold.
Dimensions: Unknown. However, what we know is that the battery height is about 19.25mm. By comparison, the Insta360 One X2 has a width of 3cm, which means the frame below the battery could be as thick as 1cm and still remain invisible to the One X2. In reality, the frame below the battery is probably closer to 5mm. So, indeed, the drone might be invisible even to a slimmer camera such as the One X2. I’ll try to find out the dimensions from Andrii.
UPDATE: Andrii informed me that the height of the body is a remarkable 18.92mm — this is thinner than even a Ricoh Theta SC2, which is 22.9mm thick! The shocking thing is that Andrii showed me a clever new design that is less than 13mm thick. Stay tuned!
Performance and sample 360 video
How well does it fly? Here is a 360 video of Andrii flying his drone. It appears to be able to carry the Qoocam 8K, which is one of the heavier 360 cameras, without too much trouble.
Here is a sample 360 video from the Qoocam 8K on Andrii’s drone. He also included a stick cam that shows that his throttle seems to be less than 50% when cruising.
The video seems to show that the drone is truly invisible and moreover, I don’t see any jello. I’m curious to know if Andrii was able to stitch the Qoocam 8K video using Qoocam studio instead of Mistika VR or some other third party app. Based on the limited information so far, Andrii’s invisible quad looks very promising. What do you think of Andrii’s design? Let me know in the comments. I’ll update this post as I find out more.