An Ingenious Remote-Controlled Tripod For iPhone Makes FaceTime Even Better

Video chatting on the iPhone just didn’t feel right--until these guys stepped in.

The iPhone and iPad’s FaceTime should have changed everything. Finally, we had the opportunity to video chat in our pockets. Only, when we tried, it stunk. Talking iPad to iPad, each person on the call gets a perfect view of the other’s inner nostrils. The iPhone is easier to position, but it’s shaky.

This left a very rare opportunity: for a third party to come in and fix an Apple design.

Galileo is that opportunity, seized. It’s a Kickstarter project by Motrr, founded by JoeBen Bevirt, who created the renowned Gorillapod, and Josh Guyot, who has crafted accessories for places like SnowPeak. Their new product is a 360-degree-rotating tripod built for iOS teleconferencing. The person on the receiving end of the line has control to change their view, panning and tilting with a swipe of the finger.

If you watch the (ever so melodramatic) video demo, you’ll likely be as blown away as the Kickstarter community, who has already pledged over $150,000 to support the project. (Galileo’s threshold was only $100,000.) Why? It’s a well-implemented idea that’s been presented in crystal clarity. And more than that, it’s a solution that solves not just any old problem, but a problem that the designers themselves have encountered in their own lives.

“My motivation has been to have better video chats with my 2.5-year-old son when I’m away on long business trips,” Guyot tells Co.Design. “He holds my wife’s iPhone and walks around the house showing me his toys, drawings, and even the cat. But many times he will get distracted by something and put the iPhone down. Then there I am, sometimes thousands of miles away on a trip lasting several weeks, missing my family, and looking at a video of the ceiling.”

The other great idea behind Galileo is an open SDK, which will allow app developers to create custom software for the device. Such will enable a slew of other options, like timelapse photography complete with panning, along with who knows what else. And you can easily imagine people using this to make bonafide movies with the iPhone, with all kinds of fancy panning techniques.

“To make this product really sing we need a suite of rockstar apps and the Kickstarter campaign has been an incredible way for us to find great app developers,” writes Guyot. Indeed, by using Kickstarter, many of Galileo’s potential coders start as its backers. Before the product even hits shelves, Galileo has a fanbase that’s actually vested in the project.

Now, if only someone codes that app to make our apartments look clean and hair properly groomed, we’ll be all set with this casual teleconferencing future.

Buy it here.

Add New Comment

2 Comments

  • Mick

    Seriously?! Facetime is a joke, what's the point of a closed system when you've got much better stuff out there like Skype and Hangouts.

  • Bart

    It's called Facetiming, not iChatting. The next version of Mac won't even have "iChat" anymore (it'll be called Messages, with a separate Facetime program).