by Carlos E. Castañeda

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A San Francisco-based drone maker has unveiled a device it calls a drone for the masses that can shoot video and fold up into the size and shape of a cellphone.

The AeriCam Anura is a pocket-sized drone with fold-away rotors that can be controlled and monitored over WiFi with a user’s smartphone.

AeriCam’s founder said he designed it for those people who always wanted a drone, but balked at the prospect of carrying around a large contraption and bulky controller. “It doesn’t involve lugging around a lot of gear,” said founder Jason Lam.

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AeriCam currently designs and makes drones for photographers and the film/video production industry. The name ‘Anura’ is taken from the scientific name for a frog, which Lam says the device’s design resembles.

Lam said he came up with the idea for a pocket drone while attending the San Francisco Giants parade following the team’s World Series win in 2012, when he decided not use one of his larger AeriCam drones.

“I needed something that was easy to deploy and safe to use among crowds,” said Lam.

The project to design and manufacture a drone that can travel anywhere has been two years in the making. “One challenge is finding companies that have the technology we need, such as flight controllers and WiFi,” said Lam.

Lam said a KickStarter campaign to fund and pre-order the Anura drone would begin this week. The price tag is expected to be under $200 and Lam said he expects to deliver in spring of 2015 if they can secure the funding.

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