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Nixie wearable camera drone takes top prize in Intel tech contest

Nixie, the world’s first camera-equipped wearable drone, has scooped the top prize in Intel’s international ‘Make It Wearable’ tech contest.

Beating nine other entries in the final, the US-based team behind the awesome wrist-based flying camera took to the stage at a special ceremony in San Francisco on Monday to collect the $500,000 prize money.

Aimed primarily at adventure sports enthusiasts, though still great fun for everyday selfie snappers who don’t want an extended arm in shot, Nixie is the brainchild of Christoph Kohstall, a self-confessed lifelong tinkerer who one day decided he wanted to make a wearable quadcopter with a built-in camera. So he did.

Nixie is big on simplicity. While selfie sticks and stretching your arm out  may not always be the easiest way to get a self-portrait in the can, Nixie only requires a flick of the arm, at which point it unfolds from your wrist, flies off, takes your picture, and returns. Open up your smartphone and staring back at you will be your just-snapped image.

With fresh funds in the bank, the flying wristband, which is powered by Intel’s tiny Edison system-on-a-chip technology, will now undergo further development that’s expected to see it fitted with video functionality as well as a mode allowing for panoramic snaps. Once the team is happy with the design, it plans to make it commercially available.

Related: The Hexo+ and AirDog drones will both follow you around and take your photo

Other entrants in Intel’s Make It Wearable contest included a low-cost robotic hand from a UK-based outfit that picked up second prize, the ProGlove production tool from a team in Germany that took third prize, the Babybe bionic mattress designed to enhance emotional bonding between mother and newborn (Chile), and the Wristify “cooling or warming” bracelet (US).

Though it made a great success of the PC market, chipmaker Intel was slow to respond to the mobile market and suffered as a result. Keen to avoid making the same mistake, the company is working hard to establish itself in the wearable space early on. Its Make It Wearable contest, which encourages startups and entrepreneurs to use its technology in their designs, is one of several moves aimed at increasing its chance of success.