The personal drone market is booming, why “Baywatch” flopped, Iceland’s first Costco

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Hello, Quartz Index readers!

Who has two thumbs and can pilot a drone? You, probably.

Last week, DJI unveiled the Spark, its smallest, most affordable drone to date. It costs $499, takes HD video and hi-res photos, tracks you as you move, and has sensors to prevent crashes. The sensors also recognize faces and hand gestures, so users can pilot the drone by waving their hands, just like a real-life Jedi.

But is the Spark really easy enough for novices to fly right away? Quartz spent the week with the Spark, to find out if it’s worth picking up.

The Spark isn’t perfect, but it’s an impressive drone in a small package. It was very fun and easy to use, but also has wifi connectivity issues and a short battery life. Despite this, the Spark is the first unit Quartz would recommend for anyone looking to get into drones. Though if you already own a few drones, this probably isn’t the next one to add to your collection. 

Drones are becoming ever-more prevalent, with around 800,000 recreational drones registered in the US in the last 16 months. The US court of appeals also ruled this week that drones under 55 lbs don’t need to be registered with the FAA, making personal drone ownership even easier.

Now, all DJI needs is some sort of app store—this thing begs for Facebook, Periscope, Snapchat, and augmented-reality apps—and these things may well end up being as ubiquitous as smartphones. —Mike Murphy 

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