Follow the fun with a flick of the finger, with the Motrr Galileo (updated)


posted Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 4:41 PM EDT

Motrr's Galileo pan/tilt platform for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Click here to visit the Motrr website!A new gadget from a new startup based in Santa Cruz, CA promises to make videography and photography with Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch products much more versatile. The Motrr Galileo allows for infinite, 360-degree pan and tilt control of Apple's popular iOS devices, providing some very interesting possibilities for remotely-controlled video and still capture. While development looks to be well under way, the Galileo is currently still at least a few months from reaching the market, with the newly-formed company currently seeking funding courtesy of a Kickstarter project.

Motrr is the latest project from the founders of two companies known for quite a variety of smartly-designed products. JoeBen Bevirt is founder of Joby Inc., and the inventor of numerous items including its iconic flexible tripod, the GorillaPod. Bevirt has partnered with Josh Guyot, inventor of the Galileo, and himself an alumnus of Joby. Guyot also co-founded Guyot Designs, a company known for products catering to the outdoorsman. Both men clearly have plenty of experience with bringing successful products to market.

Motrr's Galileo device with Apple iPhone mounted. Photo provided by Motrr LLC. Click for a bigger picture!

Motrr's Galileo device with Apple iPhone mounted.
Photo provided by Motrr LLC.

Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch devices both slot into the tripod-mountable Galileo and mount as they would in a charger. (Helpfully, they also receive a charge from the device, allowing it to double as a fairly standard-looking, charging station when not otherwise-engaged.) It gets really cool when the Galileo's pan / tilt mechanisms come to life, though. Suddenly, you can swivel your iPhone or iPod Touch a full 360 degrees on either axis at up to 200 degrees per second, and it's an infinite motion. That is to say, you don't reach a limit after the full 360 degrees of pan or tilt, so you can follow your subject even if it's repeatedly circling the Galileo.

The motion can be remotely controlled with a flick of a finger from another iPhone, an iPad, or via a web browser, and a software development kit will be provided to allow for integration with other applications. That, for our money, is where things get really interesting. An SDK opens up all sorts of possibilities. Motrr's press materials suggest that the company is working to provide integration with Apple's Facetime video-conferencing app, but the possibilities beyond that seem vast.

The Galileo can be remote-controlled from an iPhone, iPad, or web browser. Photo provided by Motrr LLC. Click for a bigger picture!

The Galileo can be remote-controlled from an iPhone, iPad, or web browser.
Photo provided by Motrr LLC.

Motrr suggests that the Galileo could, for example, automatically pan and tilt to follow your subjects using facial recognition. Thanks to power from a built-in Lithium Polymer battery, it could also allow for smooth preprogrammed pan and tilt during video capture, even when out in the field. Mount the Galileo on rails, and you could smoothly pan, tilt, and track all at once for really engaging video. The device also offers up interesting possibilities for motion during time-lapse video capture: just set it up and go. And it's not only video that could benefit: the device seems ideally suited to shooting tedious linear or spherical panoramas with a minimum of fuss. We're sure you can think of other possibilities, too.

Perhaps most intriguing is a brief clip in Motrr's introductory video (below), showing a GoPro camera mounted on the Galileo. It could be an early development idea that might not come to fruition, but equally it could be a subtle hint that Motrr plans to expand support to other platforms in the future. [Update: Motrr has confirmed for us that they're also working on adapters that would allow the Galileo to be used to remotely control the GoPro and other devices via Bluetooth.]

Motrr's promotional video for the Galileo.
Video courtesy Motrr LLC / Vimeo.

Of course, we'd caution readers that the Motrr isn't yet a final product, and nor is it a given that the necessary applications will be created for use in any of the above scenarios, once the SDK is available. The fact that Motrr has already received pledges that take it more than halfway towards its initial goal of raising US$100,000 suggest the chances to be pretty fair, however.

Motrr is currently predicting availability of the Galileo from around June 2012, priced at around US$130. Backers pledging US$85 or more through Kickstarter will receive a Galileo when the product becomes available, with free shipping in the USA, and US$20 charged for shipping in other markets.  Other pledge amounts from US$5 to US$1,300+ come with a variety of priveliges once the product goes on sale.

More details on the Motrr website.

The Galileo tilts and swivels 360 degrees, at a rate of 200 degrees per second. Photo provided by Motrr LLC. Click for a bigger picture!

The Galileo tilts and swivels 360 degrees, at a rate of 200 degrees per second.
Photo provided by Motrr LLC.


Press Release

Motrr Unveils Galileo on Kickstarter; Robotic Motion Platform Enables you to Move your iPhone with any iOS Device!

Revolutionary iOS-Controlled 360° Pan-and-Tilt Device for Latest Gen iPhones and iPod Touches Now Available for Pre-Order on Kickstarter

SANTA CRUZ, CA – March 22, 2012 – Motrr, led by the designers behind the Gorillapod™ line of innovative camera tripods, is pleased to announce the Galileo, a revolutionary iOS-controlled robotic iPhone platform with infinite spherical rotation capability. Just swipe your finger on the screen of your iPad or other iOS device and Galileo reacts, orienting your 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° pan-and-tilt at speeds up to 200° 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.

“My motivation originally was to make it easier for me to have video chats with my son when I was away on business,” said Motrr designer Josh Guyot. “The lack of control and visibility when you are talking to someone far away makes you feel even farther away and was just so frustrating; Galileo solves that problem.”
While the current versions of the Galileo are controlled solely by another iOS device, Motrr is releasing an SDK (software developers kit) for app developers. With this, developers will be able to integrate Galileo functionality into apps for photography, time lapse, video, face tracking, games, baby monitoring and more, expanding the possibilities for automated tracking and photographic and cinematographic applications.

The Galileo is powered by a rechargeable Lithium polymer battery, and also operates as a charging station for your iPhone or iPod Touch when plugged in. It is mountable on standard tripods. The Galileo weighs 7 ounces, is 2 inches tall, 3 ¼ inches round, and has an MSRP of $129.95. It is available in white, black, and limited edition Kickstarter Green. The product will ship in spring 2012 and is now available for preorder globally via Kickstarter at a discounted price of $85.

Founded in 2012, Motrr designs, markets, and sells creativity-inspiring and life-improving consumer products. For more information about Motrr please visit