Twitter Files to Patent Drone Selfies for Mobile App Users

January 12, 2016 - 2 minutes read

Twitter has been turning heads in the mobile app development community the past couple weeks with an unusual drone-related patent application. In a wall of text describing some sort of tweeting drone, Twitter’s patent attempts to nail down the rights to “messaging-enabled unmanned aerial vehicle[s].”

Here’s an excerpt from the patent text as posted to TechCrunch:

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) carries a camera, sends data from the camera, and receives commands. The UAV is connected to a messaging platform. Pictures or video clips received from the UAV are selected and placed in messages broadcast by an account associated with the UAV.

The application describes how the user might control the drone from in-app messaging. There is also a suggestion that crowdsourcing and media participation is part of Twitter’s vision for the mobile app interface, as they go on to state that “UAV control may be determined through democratic means.” Techies and Dallas iPhone app developers want to know: what are democratic means? Could the device react in real-time to viewer requests while, for example, live-streaming an event?

Whether the move is a lark from a tech fair or a calculated expansion plan remains to be seen. Regardless, seeing as other big-name social media companies like Facebook’s tech and mobile app developers have been sinking considerable investments into drone technology in recent years, it’s no surprise that Twitter would gravitate towards drone technology — albeit towards the more mundane side. Facebook has been in the news for using drone tech to bring Internet and mobile app access to underserved communities in India and elsewhere — perhaps Twitter will reach the headlines by using drone tech to make self-broadcasting simpler.

Only time will tell how Twitter’s plans to add drones to the mobile broadcasting landscape will play out. Mobile app developers are eager to see drone technology enhance the feature options for startups and mobile services. From that perspective, more big names making moves into drone technology spells a bright future for funding and innovation in drone-enhanced iPhone and Android app development.

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