April 5, 2012 at 12:16 PM ET
Here's a First World problem: Not being able to steer other people's iPhones when you're video chatting with them! Okay, so that might not be a problem everyone experiences, but there are many reasons why you'd want to remotely steer the camera on an iPhone or iPod Touch, and finally there's a new motorized stand that will let you do it.
As you can see in the images, the person you're chatting with plugs in their iPhone or iPod Touch (4th generation) to the Galileo dock and then you, from your iPhone (or iPod Touch, iPad or Web browser), control it wirelessly. Finger swipes let you move the Galileo'd device so that you keep up with the person you're talking to or the thing you're tracking.
The Galileo doubles as a charging station, too.
But not only could this kind of remote access be convenient for video chatting, it also has potential for those who might want to use their Galileo for baby or child monitoring, teaching, photography, cinematography or any kind of recording or viewing from afar.
Here's the description from the Kickstarter page:
Just swipe your finger on the screen of your iPad or other iOS device and Galileo reacts, orienting your [docked] iPhone or iPod Touch accordingly. With applications in areas of photography, cinematography, social networking, and video conferencing, Galileo gives iOS devices endless possibilities of remote-controlled motion. Capable of infinite 360-degree pan-and-tilt at speeds up to 200 degrees per second in any orientation, Galileo is an invaluable tool to everyone from an amateur photographer to the professional cinematographer, and vastly improves the experience of video chat for anyone needing to stay connected.
Galileo co-founder and senior designer, Josh Guyot, told Wired the idea evolved from being frustrated with video chats with his family while he was traveling. "Video chatting without being able to move that camera is really frustrating." What bugged him was that in the middle of these long distance conversations with his family, his young son would put down the iPhone and leave Guyot talking to nothing.
Guyot and his cohort in the Motrr company that is putting out the Galileo, JoeBen Bevirt (founder of Joby and the inventor of the Gorillapod), took something that was just an idea nine months ago and turned it into a design, with a production system based in China.
Kickstarter supporters have poured nearly $400,000 into the campaign, with 15 days to go. It has left its original goal of $100,000 in the dust and acquired more than 3,200 backers.
A pledge of $85 buys you a new Galileo in black or white, while the limited edition Kickstarter green will run $95 -- for Kickstarter supporters only. The more you buy, the more you save, starting with $160 for two of them.
Guyot told Wired that the $100,000 from Kickstarter will go toward "tooling and production costs" and the rest will "go back into the development" of Galileo.
As with the Aqua Tek S, a super-rugged iPhone case that has more than doubled its fundraising goal of $75,000, Kickstarter definitely can boost an idea and make it into a reality faster than any kind of traditional funding mechanism. And it shows that people who don't want to wait for official Apple products will move on their own to acquire the latest and greatest cool thing.
To further enhance the brainstorming on Galileo's potential, the two have released a software developer's kit so "app developers have the freedom to integrate Galileo functionality into their existing apps as well as create entirely new apps around the unbounded movement of Galileo, expanding the possibilities for automated tracking and photographic and cinematographic applications."