Swivl robotic smartphone holder by Satarii Inc.
$179 at swivl.com. Product scheduled to ship by end of March.
Ever wish your iPhone could keep an eye on you? For instance, when you’re hanging out with friends and want a video record of the occasion? You could prop the phone against a stack of books, with the camera running. But what if somebody moves?
Some sharp Califormia engineers have solved the problem, with a robotic phone holder that tilts and swivels to keep you and your buddies in the picture. Swivl is a battery-powered remote-controlled robot that works with a variety of camera-equipped smartphones, includiing Android phones and small handheld video cameras like Cisco’s Flip. The robot comes with a small remote control unit that constantly transmits its location to the Swivl device. As the person holding the remote moves, the Swivl keeps the camera aimed at him.
For better sound quality, Swivl has built a microphone into the little remote. Alas, it only works for iPhone users, who can download an app that captures the microphone’s audio stream, and also lets users start and stop the camera remotely.
Swivl is too costly for once-in-awhile shooters. But it’s a clever accessory for video buffs who can’t sit still.