Pasadena, California-based Polyhelo created the Nano Tornado quadcopter, but instead of open props it utilizes four ducted fans.
First and foremost, it won’t cut people if it runs into them, plus it won’t be damaged if it bumps into things or makes rough landings (within reason, of course). This means that it could be used in applications considered too risky for regular drones, such as flying near branches or in narrow spaces.
Because it has no arms or propellers sticking out, it can also easily be tossed in a bag for transport. Additionally, if there isn’t a good take-off/landing spot nearby, it can stabilize itself after being thrown into the air (like the Lily drone) plus it can be safely landed on a person’s outstretched hand.
Flight time is only about five minutes, although the battery can be swapped with a fully-charged extra on the spot.
The Polyhelo team is currently raising production funds for the Nano Tornado, on Indiegogo.