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(Pocket-lint) - Drones are tiptop toys as well as useful camera play-things. While they're great gifts at Christmas, a lot of time is often spent charging them. This should be about to change thanks to hydrogen fuel cells.

Making the shift from fun toys to useful tools is a tough one. Already cameramen use drones, with several spare battery packs, as work aids. But the start of their use regularly as delivery aids is going to require some serious staying power. Amazon Prime Air, for example, will likely need more than the 20-minutes most drones top out at.

Hydrogen fuel cell specialist Intelligent Energy says its power systems will be able to turn current drones that last for minutes into ones that stay airbourne for hours.

The device created by the company is currently a range extender prototype. Intelligent Energy hopes that manufacturers will employ its tech to extend the fly time of their drones as well as cut down refuel times to just two minutes.

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How this extra hardware will affect weight and flight control has not been mentioned. The company did say it had run tests and can confirm it does not affect the quality or steadiness of the camera recordings from the drone.

The range extender drone will be shown off at CES in January. Check back then to hear more on the potential future of flight.

READ: 9 best drone quadcopters to buy now: Parrot, DJI, Hubsan and more

Writing by Luke Edwards. Originally published on 15 December 2015.