Drone enthusiasts are always on the lookout for cool gadgets and accessories they can add to their drone gear.
So here are the newest and coolest drone accessories and gadgets you can buy right now. You can get them for yourself or as a gift for a fellow drone enthusiast.
1. Safety Sensor for Propellers
Propellers are the most dangerous part of a flying drone. This is especially so for larger drones with carbon fiber blades. They can cause severe cuts on your fingers and if they come into contact with sensitive areas like the neck they could be lethal.
Children flying toy drones are especially vulnerable to injuries because they are not as careful. But even an expert can get injured in a brief moment of inattention.
Some drones come with propeller guards to prevent accidental contact with the blades. You can also buy your own propeller guard or a propeller cage.
These solutions are effective but come at a sacrifice. They add more weight to the drone and affect flying performance.
Researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia have come up with a better idea.
They’ve designed a simple light-weight system that can sense when a finger is approaching the rotors and stop them in 0.06 seconds.
The system consists of four light plastic hoops. Each hoop is attached to a single propeller using a low-friction bearing.
As the propellers rotate, the hoops rotate too but at a lower speed.
If a finger accidentally moves towards the propellers when they are spinning, it will encounter the plastic hoop first. An optical sensor detects the change in speed of the hoop and triggers electro-dynamic braking.
The propellers stop within 0.06 seconds.
The whole set will cost about $20 when it goes to the market and only weighs 22g, meaning it won’t affect drone performance.
2. All-terrain Landing Gear
If you fly your drone over different terrains, finding a good place to land it can sometimes be a challenge. You can buy a landing pad but even that won’t help in some situations like when you are on a boat.
What you need is an all-terrain landing gear. The best brand is WaterStrider by DroneRafts which is designed for the Phantom 3 and Phantom 4.
For around $140 you get a set of four buoyant landing skids. Just fit them onto the drone and you can land anywhere.
The drone will easily float on water. This is great for photographers who want a unique shot. You can also land it on rough rocks or uneven ground. The drone will bounce off safely as the landing gear absorbs the shock.
The main downside is that they will affect your drone’s flying performance. It’s best if you reserve them for those times you need to land on tough terrain or water.
3. Drone Lighting Kit
You can deck your drone in LED lights either for decoration or to provide overhead lighting. They also come in handy if you want to see your drone in low-light conditions and determine it’s orientation from a distance.
MyDroneLight.com has a wide range of drone lighting solutions from powerful spotlights to fancy LED strobe lights.
You can also checkout these high-power LEDs by Stratus LEDs designed for mounting on drones. They are ideal for night operations such as search and rescue.
4. Multispectral Camera
Multispectral cameras have already been introduced in the professional drone industry, mostly in agricultural drones.
You can read more about how these cameras are used by drone operators to analyze crop health in our agricultural drone buying guide.
Multispectral cameras are also helping researchers identify crops with the best genes. They can then study these crops to improve general yield.
5. Lithium-ion Battery Bag
Extra batteries are a must for a serious drone pilot. Even if you fly for fun, it’s no fun flying for just 20 minutes before the battery runs out.
For professional drone operators there’s nothing like too many spare batteries. But with all those extras, you need something safe and good quality to carry them in.
Remember that Lithium-ion batteries can explode if stored incorrectly. Excess heat is especially dangerous. That’s why the FAA and airlines have very strict rules about carrying these batteries aboard airplanes.
For maximum safety and easy portability get a specialized battery bag.
These bags are designed to be fire and explosion-proof. So even if anything happens to the batteries, you and whoever’s around you will be safe.